FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 1999
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains announced today that a federal district court judge signed an order assuring that the Colorado Parental Notice Statute will not be enforced anywhere in the state until a final judgment on the merits is issued in the challenge to the law that is currently pending in United States District Court in Denver.
The state-wide effect of today’s order ends a period of uncertainty that began on December 23, 1998, the day after the case was filed, when the first judge to hear the case entered a temporary restraining order that barred enforcement of the statute only in Boulder.
The litigation, on behalf of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in Colorado, was filed in state district court in Boulder on December 22, 1998. The original defendants included the Governor and Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter.
In the hearing on December 23, Boulder district court Judge Morris Sanstead temporarily enjoined enforcement of the statute, but the order’s effect was limited to Boulder.
After the defendants invoked their federal-law right to remove the case to federal court, the case landed in the chambers of Judge Walker Miller. At a hearing on January 19, 1999, Judge Miller renewed the order prohibiting Boulder District Attorney Hunter from enforcing the statute. But because the remaining 21 district attorneys were not parties to the lawsuit, he declined to enter an order with state-wide effect.
The Plaintiffs amended their complaint the next day and served it on the remaining 21 district attorneys. Since every district attorney in Colorado is now a defendant in the lawsuit, all are bound by today’s order.
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?
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 https://action.aclu.org/give/support-aclu-colorado
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.
Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”
Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.
ACLU, PLANNED PARENTHOOD, ANNOUNCE NEW COURT ORDER SUSPENDING ENFORCEMENT OF COLORADO PARENTAL NOTICE STATUTE THROUGHOUT COLORADO
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