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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.

Bookstores & Newsstands Challenge Law Violating First Amendment Rights

June 4, 2013

New Colorado law forces retailers to sell magazines focused on marijuana from behind the counter if anyone under 21 is allowed on the premises.

DENVER – Bookstores, newsstands and two bookseller organizations filed suit yesterday to block enforcement of a law that violates the First Amendment rights of retailers to display magazines that focus on marijuana and their customers’ right to browse those publications. The law, which was passed as a provision of the new Retail Marijuana Code, requires store owners that allow anyone under 21 years old on their premises to keep all magazines focused on marijuana or the marijuana business behind the counter.

"Clearly, this is speech protected by the Constitution,” said Joyce Meskis of Tattered Cover Bookstore, one of the plaintiffs in the suit. “It has been sold, borrowed and read by people who have had rightful access to this material for years and years. To limit this speech now would be a travesty. On behalf of the readers we serve, we cannot permit this law to stand without inviting future legislatures to restrict the display of other kinds of books and magazines.”

“When government decides it doesn’t like an idea or disagrees with content and then acts to restrict its reach, that is unacceptable censorship,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “Just as the legislature cannot censor magazines, it also cannot require newsstands to hide government-disfavored content behind the counter.”

“The First Amendment bars the government from picking and choosing what information the public may see or browse merely because the legislature thinks it focuses on an undesirable act,” said David Horowitz, Executive Director of Media Coalition. “Otherwise, the legislature could force booksellers to restrict access to books, magazines, and other media that focus on wine, beer, driving or any other activity that is illegal for adults or minors.”

The lawsuit, Tattered Cover v. Brohl, was filed by ACLU of Colorado and Media Coalition, Inc. on behalf of the plaintiffs Tattered Cover Bookstore, Boulder Book Store, Magpies Newsstand in Durango, Book Train in Glenwood Springs, Woody’s Newsstand in Greeley, Al’s Newsstand in Ft. Collins, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association.

The parties are represented by Media Coalition general counsel Michael Bamberger and Richard Zuckerman of the New York office of Dentons US LLP, and by ACLU lawyers Silverstein, Staff Attorney Sara Rich, and ACLU Cooperating Attorneys Chris Beall, Steven Zansberg, and Tom Kelley of Levine Sullivan Koch and Schulz LLP.


Read more about the case here.


Access the complaint here.



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