The ACLU of Colorado’s Legal Department works to protect and defend civil liberties through litigation as well as legal advocacy outside the courtroom. With only three full-time attorneys on staff, the ACLU also relies on the work of dedicated volunteer cooperating attorneys from around the state who are willing to donate their time and talent to assist our struggle for liberty.
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.
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.
- 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.
Litigation & Legal Advocacy
Provino v. Big League Haircuts
The ACLU of Colorado and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project filed suit on behalf of Ashley Provino, a Grand Junction woman who was fired from her job, in violation of state and federal anti-discrimination laws, for asserting her right to pump breast milk at work.
Provino, a new mother, requested permission from her employer, Big League Haircuts, to....
Valdez v. Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office
Claudia Valdez called Arapahoe County Police in July 2012, when a domestic dispute with her husband turned physical. When law enforcement arrived on the scene, they arrested Valdez and took her to jail. After her husband admitted in court the next morning that he had been the aggressor, a judge ordered Valdez’s release. Rather than release Valdez,....
End Immigration Detainers
A letter was sent to Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson requesting that Denver County stop honoring Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers, which are requests by the federal government that states and municipalities hold prisoners until ICE can determine their immigration status, often past the time they would otherwise be released . The letter....
Criminal Justice, End Immigration Detainers, Immigrants’ Rights
Challenge to Grand Junction Anti-Panhandling Ordinance
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado filed suit in federal district court challenging the City of Grand Junction's anti-panhandling ordinance, which bans a wide swath of speech that is protected by the First Amendment.
Although Grand Junction officials have claimed that the ordinance aims only at “aggressive” panhandling, the ACLU contends....
Criminal Justice, Criminalization of Homelessness, Freedom of Expression & Religion
DISH Network Accommodation of Nursing Mothers
The ACLU of Colorado sent a letter on March 12, 2014 to DISH Network documenting multiple failures to accommodate nursing mothers at the company’s corporate headquarters in Englewood, where employees are forced to pump breast milk in front of their co-workers and supervisors, without privacy screens or curtains, and at a DISH Network call center in....
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado sent letters to three Front Range cities demanding a prompt halt to the illegal practice of jailing poor people for failing to pay court-ordered fines. The ACLU conducted an in-depth investigation into the municipal courts of Westminster, Wheat Ridge, and Northglenn, and found that each city routinely issues....
Criminal Justice, End Debtors' Prisons