Case No. 06-cv-1197, United States District Court, District of Colorado
ACLU Case No. 2006-08
In June, 2006, ACLU attorneys traveled to Glenwood Springs, Colorado to investigate prisoners’ complaints about abusive practices in the Garfield County Jail. (The practices under investigation are the subject of a separate class action lawsuit, Vandehey v. Vallario, filed in July, 2006). ACLU attorneys reviewed documents requested under the Colorado open records laws and planned to interview prisoners who had written to the ACLU. ACLU staff attorney Taylor Pendergrass was prevented from interviewing several prisoners, however, because Sheriff Lou Vallario, in anticipation of the ACLU’s visit, invented a new “policy” to govern attorney interviews with prisoners. Pursuant to that policy, when an attorney asks to speak with a prisoner, a deputy asks the prisoner “Who is your attorney?” If the prisoner responds with the name of his criminal defense attorney rather than the ACLU, the interview is denied. Based on this new “policy,” Mr. Pendergrass was prevented from speaking with three prisoners on June 15, 2006.
Mark Silverstein , ACLU of Colorado Legal Director
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