Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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: 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

  • 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. 

Citizen voters frantic after receiving Gessler challenge letter

August 28, 2012

Legally registered voters are frantically contacting the ACLU of Colorado after receiving a letter from Secretary of State Scott Gessler asking them to either affirm their citizenship and supply proof – or remove themselves from the voter rolls.

“These individuals became citizens before registering to vote,” said Denise Maes, Public Policy Director at the ACLU of Colorado. “Mr. Gessler has no business intimidating model law-abiding citizens living and working in Colorado with his letter that risks discouraging voters from exercising their right to vote.”

Gessler mailed between 3,000 and 4,000 voters letters challenging their voter eligibility earlier this month and has scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, August 29, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. to determine next steps.

“Mr. Gessler has no authority to move forward with this nor to do anything about the individuals that do not respond,” Maes said. “No one is legally required to respond to Mr. Gessler’s fishing expedition.”

Gessler has not produced one verifiable case of voter fraud – but is clearly intimidating legally registered voters, as evidenced by the number of citizens who have contacted the ACLU of Colorado, including:

Veronica Figoli. Ms. Figoli came to the U.S. from Venezuela in 1999 as a student and has since built a successful career as a marketing and communications specialist. She did not register to vote until she became a citizen in November 2011. “I’ve done everything for this country. But this letter makes me feel that no matter what I do I’ll always be a second class citizen.”

Charmaine Rose. Ms. Rose is a government attorney in Colorado. Originally from Canada, Rose came to the U.S. in 2000 on a work visa as an engineer. Following the completion of her studies, she chose to practice law in the U.S. and became a citizen in March 2012. She registered to vote immediately following the ceremony. “I am outraged that taxpayer funds are being used in such a wasteful manner.”

Markus Mayer. Born in Germany, Mr. Mayer moved to the U.S. in 2000 and has been working in Colorado as an IT specialist since 2006. Secretary of State Scott Gessler himself encouraged the new citizens at Meyer’s naturalization ceremony in November 2011 to register to vote. Mayer took Gessler’s advice and registered to vote in December 2011 but recently found himself forced to affirm his citizenship after receiving a letter from Gessler. “I am frustrated and disgusted with the whole matter.”

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