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  • 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. 

  • 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.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

ACLU Will Defend Colorado Man Arrested For Giving Trooper The Finger

The ACLU of Colorado announced today that it will provide free criminal defense services to Shane Boor, a 35-year-old Colorado man with no criminal record who faces criminal prosecution and a jail sentence for displaying his middle finger to an officer of the Colorado State Patrol.

UPDATE: After 24 hours of tremendous media coverage, on Friday, May 27, the Colorado State Patrol decided to ask Jefferson County prosecutors to drop the charge of harrassment against Shane Boor.

“Our client engaged in peaceful, silent symbolic expression that is protected by First Amendment,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “The protection of the Constitution is not limited to speech that is acceptable in polite society. The First Amendment also protects expression that may be disrespectful, coarse or even vulgar. It’s rude to flip off a cop, but it’s not a crime.”

In April, Mr. Boor was driving to a work site in Jefferson County when he saw a state trooper pull over a car. As he passed by, Mr. Boor extended his middle finger in the trooper’s direction, a gesture that quietly expressed Mr. Boor’s disapproval of what he regarded as unjustified harassment by members of the trooper’s profession.

Soon after Mr. Boor arrived at his work site, another trooper arrived and questioned Boor about the hand gesture. Boor then received a criminal summons ordering him to appear in Jefferson County Court to answer a criminal charge of “harassment.” The charge carries a possible penalty of six months in jail.

“We will urge the DA’s office to dismiss this unjustified criminal case and we are confident they will,” said Dan Recht, an ACLU Cooperating Attorney who formally entered his appearance in Jefferson County Court to defend Mr. Boor. “The police obviously need better training concerning our country’s time-honored constitutional right to free expression. Their training must teach them to shrug off insults and disrespectful comments from the public. In essence, they need to develop a thicker skin so that our constitutional rights prevail.”



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