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. 

Colorado Legislators Sign Joint Letter Opposing Amendment 76

32 State Lawmakers Condemn 76 as an Anti-immigrant “Voter Suppression” Effort, Urge no Vote

DENVER – In a letter released Monday, 32 Democratic state lawmakers called on Coloradans to vote no on Amendment 76, condemning the measure as a “cynical, misguided initiative.” Legislators – including the Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, and several other high-ranking officials – decried the amendment as a “direct attack on Colorado’s youngest voters and our immigrant community,” saying that it will disenfranchise thousands of young voters and cause fear and confusion among immigrants who are legally allowed to vote as naturalized citizens. The lawmakers also took issue with Amendment 76’s origins, driven by the Florida-based PAC Citizen Voters, Inc. that was founded and funded by conservative activists Gina and John Loudon, members of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, calling it an effort to “meddle” in Colorado elections.

Notably, the legislators cited the damage Amendment 76 would do to their recent efforts to make Colorado’s voting system more accessible. If passed, Amendment 76 would likely nullify the Colorado Votes Act that passed in 2019 and empowered 17-year olds who would turn 18 by election day to vote in the state’s primary elections. The letter states, “Tens of thousands of newly eligible young voters eager to participate in our democracy would be disenfranchised each primary season by Amendment 76.” The letter also expressed concern that Amendment 76 would reverse Colorado’s standing as a leader in secure and accessible election systems. If passed, Amendment 76 would open the door to more restrictive voter ID rules that are often blamed for voter suppression in other states.

Lawmakers further criticized the amendment as “part of a larger national anti-immigrant movement to spread unfounded and xenophobic narratives that undocumented people are fraudulently voting in elections.” No evidence of widespread voter fraud or illegal non-citizen voting has ever been found in multiple non-partisan national studies. Amendment 76 would not change any laws or rules about citizenship requirements to vote, as it is already illegal for non-citizens to vote in any election. Instead, legislators wrote, the only law it would affect seems to be the Colorado Votes Act and some analysts even argued that the amendment would still not bar local municipalities from allowing non-citizens to vote at a later date.

“I have supported multiple efforts to get people involved in our elections at a young age,” said Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez. “This makes our democracy stronger for it allows our next generation of voters to participate and create more vibrant civic discussions. Amendment 76 is trying to leverage anti-immigrant rhetoric to attack our elections, and that’s why I urge all Coloradans to vote NO on Amendment 76. Get your ballot in today.”

The full text of the Colorado legislators’ letter and a list of its signatories can be found at: 


The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.

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