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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.

Charges dismissed in case against filmmaker who taped DCSD meeting

April 11, 2013

ACLU wins dismissal of criminal charges wrongfully filed against filmmaker who attempted to tape Douglas County School Board Meeting

DENVER – Douglas County prosecutors dropped criminal charges today against ACLU client Brian Malone, a documentary filmmaker who was charged with “disrupting a lawful assembly” when he attempted to videotape a Douglas County School District (DCSD) meeting last summer.

“This decision reinforces that access to public meetings for the media and general public is a fundamental right that should never be criminalized,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein.

Mr. Malone was ejected from a DCSD meeting on August 7, 2012, after he placed a video camera tripod in a location that allowed him to capture the faces of the individuals making presentations to the board – the same location where he had been allowed to videotape during several meetings over the previous three months. After a security official objected to the placement of the camera, Malone was removed from the meeting, issued a citation, and told that he could no longer attend any future school board meetings.

The school district lifted its order prohibiting Malone from attending meetings following a letter sent by the ACLU of Colorado on Malone’s behalf. Malone was defended in the criminal case by ACLU cooperating attorneys Daniel Recht, of Recht and Kornfeld, and Steve Zansberg, of Levine, Sullivan, Koch, &Schulz.

“Brian is a filmmaker whose only goal was to capture the dealings of a publicly-elected body so that they could be better known by the public,” said Recht, “They had no right to remove him and definitely no right to charge him with a crime.”

Prosecutors dropped the charges before the Douglas County court was able to rule on a motion to dismiss filed by ACLU attorneys earlier this week. In the motion, Malone’s attorneys argued that the prosecution could not prove that his conduct caused a significant disruption and also that the DCSD’s restrictions on Malone’s newsgathering activities were “overbroad and unjustified restrictions on First Amendment-protected conduct.”

According to a report by Our Colorado News, since 2007, the Douglas County School Board has more than doubled its use of secretive “executive sessions” and dramatically limited the amount of time it spends in public session. “Given these developments,” Zansberg said, “it is particularly important that journalists like Malone not be prevented from reporting on the business and conduct of the board, including the faces of the public when they do have the rare opportunity to address board members.”



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