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. 


Court Orders Temporary Halt to Medicaid Cutoffs in ACLU Suit on Behalf of Legal Immigrants


Apr 1, 2003

Granting an emergency motion filed by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado (ACLU), a federal court judge issued an order late this afternoon that temporarily stops the State of Colorado from cutting Medicaid medical assistance benefits to approximately 3500 legal immigrants in Colorado who cannot afford to pay for their own medical care.


The cutoffs are required by Senate Bill 03 -176, which Governor Owens signed into law on March 5 as a budget-cutting measure. The new law ends medical assistance to certain categories of legal immigrants but continues benefits for citizens who are in the same financial situation. The ACLU filed suit last week to stop the cutoffs, arguing that forcing legal immigrants to bear the burden of the budget cutbacks violates their constitutional right to the equal protection of the laws.


Today's order, issued by United States District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn, temporarily bars the State from implementing SB 03-176. The order will remain in effect at least until April 11, the date set by the Court for a hearing on the ACLU's request for a preliminary injunction.

"Judge Blackburn's ruling is a welcome victory for thousands of legal immigrants who faced an immediate loss of vital medical care if SB 03 -176 went into effect on April 1 as planned," said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. "At the upcoming hearing on April 11, we will argue that Judge Blackburn should renew his order and preserve our clients' medical assistance while this lawsuit is pending."

Court's order granting temporary restraining order, April 1, 2003

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