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.
- 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.
Category Archives: Campaign Issues
ACLU and DOC Resolve Class Action COVID-19 Lawsuit, While Case Against Governor Continues
November 13, 2020 DENVER – With two court filings today, ACLU of Colorado announced a resolution with the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) of last May’s class action lawsuit alleging failure to protect medically vulnerable people in prison from COVID-19. The DOC and ACLU jointly asked the Denver District Court to enter an order, called a “consent decree,” which memorializes the terms of the resolution. It requires access to masks and hygiene supplies; prioritizes safe housing.... | Read More
No on 115, One Family’s Story
Proposition 115 is a dangerous mistake that is deeply personal for us. When we decided to grow our family, pregnancy did not come easy for us. When it happened, after several years of attempts, we were overjoyed. Early complications left us with a risky pregnancy to both mother and child that our doctors closely monitored. They needed the fetus to develop for 22 weeks before they could fully diagnose the issues and give us accurate information. The prognosis was heartbreaking. The developmental.... | Read More
ACLU Report Finds Colorado Jail Depopulation Policies are Smart, Safe and Fiscally Responsible, Many Colorado Sheriffs Agree
DENVER – A new ACLU of Colorado report “COVID-19 Jail Depopulation in Colorado: An Unexpected Path Forward” found that jail depopulation in Colorado has been smart, safe, and thoughtful, with a clear focus on reserving jail beds for people who pose a threat to others. This report uses original data and research to assess the impact of depopulation policies implemented in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis and calls on legislators to memorialize these policies into law in 2021.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Launches 2020 Voter Guide Focused on Civil Liberties at Stake
DENVER – With less than 30 days until the most consequential election in American history, ACLU of Colorado launched its 2020 Voter Guide today to help people better understand the candidates’ positions on critical civil liberties issues and what ballot initiatives to look out for including: Amendment 76 regarding citizenship qualification of electors, Proposition 113 for the national popular vote, Proposition 115 concerning the ban on abortion later in pregnancy and Proposition 118 for paid.... | Read More
ACLU’s Lawsuit Against Teller County Sheriff’s ICE Operations Moves to Appeals
May 26, 2020 DENVER – ACLU of Colorado has appealed a ruling of the Teller County District Court dismissing a taxpayer lawsuit seeking to stop Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell from enforcing federal civil immigration law. The lawsuit, filed last summer on behalf of six Teller County residents and taxpayers, asserts that Sheriff Mikesell exceeds his authority and violates Colorado law by participating in what is known as a 287(g) agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.... | Read More
Colorado Now the 22nd State to Repeal the Death Penalty
Even in the midst of coronavirus shut-downs, we have an opportunity today to celebrate. Today, Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 100 repealing the death penalty in Colorado and clearing death row. This long-overdue achievement makes Colorado the 22nd state to repeal the death penalty, finally ending this broken, costly, and unjust system in our state. As I complete my last month as Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado after almost eight years in this position, I am particularly happy.... | Read More
Donate Your Refund to Fight for Your Rights
This tax season, there’s an exciting new way to turn your refund into real results. ReFUND CO allows you to donate your state income tax return to a local nonprofit like ACLU of Colorado. Simply decide how much of your state income tax refund to donate, enter American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado, Inc. and our registration number, 20023005801, on the “Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit Fund” line on your state tax return or tax software. With a few simple steps, you’re one step.... | Read More
“Do Not Kill in My Name” – How Colorado Finally Repealed the Death Penalty
For more than twenty years, an evolving coalition of victims’ family members, corrections officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, faith leaders, and civil liberties champions have worked relentlessly to end the death penalty in Colorado. In 2019, following a democratic sweep of both the legislature and the Governor’s office, many thought repeal was inevitable. Unfortunately, the state senate could not bring the bill across the finish line. In response, the ACLU of Colorado launched an ambitious,.... | Read More
BREAKING: After Historic Vote, Colorado to Become 22nd State to End the Death Penalty
DENVER – After a nine month, community-led campaign, hours of emotional testimony and much debate, SB20-100 — the bill to end the death penalty in Colorado — passed its 3rd and final reading in the House. The bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk. Once signed, it will make Colorado the 22nd state to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. “Thanks to the support from faith leaders, death row exonerees, District Attorneys, corrections officers and, most significantly, family members.... | Read More
Effort to End the Death Penalty in Colorado Advances
January 28, 2020 Effort to End the Death Penalty in Colorado Advances DENVER – Coloradans from across the state and sponsors on both sides of the aisle gathered to hear SB20-100 to Repeal The Death Penalty. After six hours of testimony, the bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 3-2 vote. “Yesterday’s testimony from faith leaders, an exoneree from death row, District Attorneys, corrections officers and, most significantly, family members who lost loved ones to murder,.... | Read More
Return to Search