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. 

Learn About Senate Bill 21-273

As a key supporter of Senate Bill 21-062, we want to update you on the fate of that bill and inform you about the good work still to come. While SB21-062 had strong public support, it also faced intense opposition driven by misinformation and fear-mongering by law enforcement. Even as we continued to grow our “yes” votes in the Senate, the bill stalled and was never scheduled past its first committee hearing. While we are deeply disappointed that false messaging won the day on SB21-062, we are certainly not done fighting for all of its provisions.

We ask you now to help champion Senate Bill 21-273. Learn more about this important legislation and how to take action.

RSVP for our Webinar on Thursday, May 27 at 4 p.m.:…/register/WN_g7j-dZd5TaKJdCs7K-enoQ

SB21-273 is not a replacement bill for SB21-062. It is a different and narrower bill, but one that aims to do important harm reduction work that we strongly support. SB21-273 focuses on reducing harm and saving lives by:

1. Mandating summons in lieu of arrest for traffic offenses, petty offenses, municipal offenses, and non-violent misdemeanors.

2. Limiting cash bond to cases where there is a safety threat or a flight threat
Expediting appeals to reconsider bond conditions

3. Creating a Community Response Working group to study, and recommend safe and effective alternatives to law enforcement responses to low-level offenses

If passed, this legislation will significantly reduce harm, disrupt opportunities for violent conflict between officers and community, and decrease the number of people jailed for poverty. SB21-273 will save lives.

We will not let the loss of SB21-062 deter us from doing good work this session or from holding our legislators accountable to transform the criminal legal system for all. We thank you for supporting Senate Bill 21-062 and for now joining us in the transformational work we can still do this legislative session.

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