Colorado Rights Blog


  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

ACLU of Colorado’s New Year’s Resolutions

2020 is here, and this will be a very important year for the ACLU, Colorado and our nation. Here are seven ACLU of Colorado resolutions for the New Year to help guide our work and yours:

  1. Pretrial Justice. The majority of people in Colorado jails are not there because they have been convicted of a crime. The majority are legally innocent and only incarcerated because they can’t afford to pay a monetary bond. As the Colorado legislative session begins this week, the ACLU of Colorado has launched a Pretrial Justice Reform Campaign to take the next legislative steps in reforming pretrial detention. Our goals are to end wealth-based pretrial detention, to stop racial bias in pretrial detention, and to keep more people home while their cases are resolved.
  2. End the Death Penalty in Colorado. Our death penalty system is extremely costly while doing nothing to prevent crime. Application of the death penalty is often arbitrary and systemically discriminatory. It is traumatizing to those who must carry it out, and it risks governmental processes making fatally irreversible mistakes. It is time for Colorado to end the death penalty for good.
  3. Defend Reproductive Rights. The ACLU of Colorado will fight any form of abortion ban or restrictions on reproductive rights that may be proposed in the legislature or placed on the Colorado ballot in 2020.
  4. Defend our Immigrant Neighbors. The ACLU will continue to defend the rights of immigrants in Colorado and to use the courts and the legislature to hold accountable immigrant detention facilities like the private GEO facility in Aurora contracted with ICE.
  5. Get Out The Vote. The 2020 election will be a crucial one in Colorado and nationwide. Your vote will be needed in national, state and local races, and on state and local ballot measures. The ACLU of Colorado will defend voting rights and the integrity of our election while mobilizing civil liberties voters to be sure to vote this year.
  6. Rights for All. The ACLU will continue to fight in every way possible to defend the rights of people experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ persons, people of color, people without money or facing life crises, and anyone else likely to be denied their rights, their privacy, or their civil liberties.
  7. Build for the next 100 years. 2020 is our Centennial year, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ACLU. As long as this nation exists, we will need the ACLU to uphold democratic processes, fight for civil rights and civil liberties, and make our systems more genuinely inclusive and equitable for all people in this land. I hope you will join us not only in fighting the battles of 2020 but also in building for a better future ahead.


Nathan Woodliff-Stanley,

ACLU of Colorado Executive Director


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