Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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.

Carle Whitehead Bill of Rights Dinner









The Curtis Hotel, 1405 Curtis Street – 3rd Floor Ballroom

Friday, October 11th, 2013

5:30pm to 9pm

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Justice Council Sponsors

Heizer Paul Grueskin LLP 

Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP 

Recht Kornfeld 

Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell

Freedom League Sponsors

Baker & Hostetler LLP 

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck 

Carl J. Minnig Foundation, Max Minnig, Jr. & Associates, LLC, and Donald Bounds LLC & Suzanne Greene

The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center

Faegre Baker Daniels LLP 

Gill Foundation 

Haddon, Morgan & Foreman, P.C.

Kevin Paul and Melanie Lunsford

King & Greisen 

McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP 

Mendez Consulting, Inc. 

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains 

The Sawaya Law Firm 

Advocate Sponsors

arc Thrift Stores 

Bob Connelly 

Brett Family Foundation – Linda Shoemaker, President 

The Colorado and Denver Bar Associations

Crane & Tejada PC

EAH Immigration 

The Law Office of Karen Steinhauser LLC 

Kendall, Koenig, & Oelsner PC

Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC 

Stern & Curray, LLC

Sturm College of Law, University of Denver 

University of Colorado Law School

The ACLU of Colorado presented its 2013 Civil Rights Awards to State Representative Claire Levy, Kevin Paul of Heizer Paul Grueskin LLP, and Kevin Williams of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) for their exemplary contributions to protecting civil rights and furthering civil liberties in Colorado.

Representative Levy, who has dedicated her career as an attorney and a legislator to advancing civil rights, received the Carle Whitehead Memorial Award. Levy has spearheaded efforts in the legislature to decrease prison populations and address a variety of juvenile justice issues, including removing juveniles from adult jails. She has worked to reform the sentencing process and reduce the use of solitary confinement, and she helped secure legislation in the last session to modernize elections and increase voter participation. Levy has argued passionately for preserving the civil rights of all Coloradoans and has been a tireless advocate for ending the death penalty.

The Edward Sherman Award, which recognizes outstanding legal work, was awarded to Kevin Paul, whose career of legal advocacy for reproductive rights has positively impacted hundreds of thousands of men, women, and teens throughout the state. Paul, now a partner at Denver-based Heizer Paul Grueskin LLP, has long served as legal counsel for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Among his many legal and legislative achievements, Paul was instrumental in creating the “bubble law,” which is now used as a model throughout the state and country for balancing protesters’ rights with the right to privacy outside of healthcare facilities.

Kevin Williams, who directs the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) Legal Program, received the Ralph L. Carr Award, which recognizes an individual’s devotion to an important contemporary civil rights issue. Under Williams’ direction, the CCDC Legal Program and its cooperating attorneys have successfully litigated hundreds of disability rights cases, including a national class action settlement requiring all K-Mart stores to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

For questions about this year’s or next year's event, please contact Rachel Pryor-Lease, Development Associate, at or 720-402-3105.

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