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  • 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: acluco.org/redemption. 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 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.

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

Category Archives: Death Penalty

3.23.20

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

2.27.20

“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

2.26.20

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

1.28.20

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

1.22.20

29. Dean Sanderford

https://soundcloud.com/thepurplestatereport/29-dean-sanderford In this episode, we continue our series on Colorado’s death penalty. Our guest Dean Sanderford, witnessed the horribly botched execution of his client, Clayton Lockett. Public Policy Associate, Helen Griffiths interviews. Read the ACLU of Colorado report, “Ending a Broken System: Colorado’s Expensive, Ineffective and Unjust Death Penalty” at: http://bit.ly/EABSco Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-purple-state-report/id1257880553 The.... | Read More

1.13.20

ACLU Report Highlights Stories of Victims’ Families who Oppose the Death Penalty

DENVER – An ACLU of Colorado report released today highlights 22 stories of families whose loved ones were murdered and why, in the face of such tragedy, they firmly oppose the death penalty. The death penalty is an expensive, ineffective and unjust process that harms victims’ families. Over the course of decades, victims’ families are forced to navigate a complicated legal process and relive the trauma of their loved one’s murder. “There was a trial for the killer’s accomplice that dragged.... | Read More

1.9.20

28. Sister Helen Prejean

https://soundcloud.com/thepurplestatereport/28-sister-helen-prejean The Purple State Report is back and we begin the new year with a series of podcast episodes analyzing Colorado’s death penalty. In this episode, our guest is Sister Helen Prejean, a prominent anti-death penalty activist and author of Dead Man Walking. Public Policy Director, Denise Maes and Public Policy Associate, Helen Griffiths interview. Join ACLU of Colorado on January 14, 2020, for End the Death Penalty Lobby Day. More.... | Read More

4.18.19

Remembering Rev. Tammy Garrett-Williams

It is always sad to lose allies and friends of civil rights and civil liberties, but Colorado experienced a particularly great loss recently with the death of the Rev. Tammy Garrett-Williams. A fierce champion for the rights of people caught in the criminal justice system, her Above Waters Project has been deeply rooted in the lives of people directly impacted by mass incarceration and the criminal legal system. Her activism was widely visible across the community, from the NAACP to the Greater.... | Read More

12.2.16

ACLU of Colorado Statement on George Brauchler’s Decision to Seek the Death Penalty in the Johnson Case

Statement of ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley: “The ACLU of Colorado is disappointed by Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler’s decision to pursue the death penalty in yet another case, an outlier decision in direct contradiction to movement across Colorado and the rest of the country away from spending limited resources in the pursuit of death. The death penalty is expensive and arbitrary, and every costly trial perpetuates a broken, racially-biased system that can.... | Read More

2.10.16

ACLU Testimony on SB 64 – Bill to Allow Death Sentences from Non-Unanimous Juries

ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley presented the following testimony to the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to SB 64, a bill that would have allowed death sentences to be given by non-unanimous juries.  The bill was defeated. Thank you, Madam Chair.  My name is Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado, and I testify in opposition to Senate Bill 64. There are only three states that currently allow non-unanimous juries in.... | Read More





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