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  • 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.

Judge Rules El Paso County Sheriff Must Stop Illegally Holding Prisoners for ICE

DENVER – State District Court Judge Eric Bentley has ordered El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder to immediately stop relying on ICE immigration detainers or ICE administrative warrants as grounds for refusing to release ACLU of Colorado plaintiffs from custody when they post bond, complete their sentences, or otherwise resolve their criminal cases.

ACLU of Colorado filed a class action lawsuit on February 27 alleging that Sheriff Elder had unlawfully imprisoned dozens of individuals for days, weeks, and even months without legal authority, solely on the ground that ICE suspected that they were subject to deportation for civil immigration violations.

At a hearing held yesterday morning, ACLU attorneys requested a preliminary injunction to stop the practice, arguing that the Sheriff’s policy violated Colorado law and that the prisoners held by Sheriff Elder would suffer irreparable harm by continuing to forfeit their liberty while the case proceeded. In a ruling issued late last night, Judge Bentley granted the injunction.

ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein issued the following statement: 

“Judge Bentley’s ruling confirmed that Colorado sheriffs have no legal authority to enforce federal immigration law and that when individuals have posted bond or resolved their criminal case, Colorado law requires that they be released.

“Colorado law authorizes sheriffs to deprive someone of their liberty only when there is probable cause of a crime, not for suspected civil violations of federal immigration law. As the Judge’s ruling confirms, when sheriffs hold an individual for ICE for any amount of time past their release date, they make a new arrest for which they have no legal authority under Colorado law.

“Federal immigration authorities are attempting to co-opt sheriffs’ limited resources for their aggressive deportation agenda, but they cannot do so at the expense of individual liberties or Colorado law. When they do, the ACLU will fight them at every turn.

“Colorado sheriffs swear an oath to the Constitution, not to ICE.”

Resources: 

Read the Judge’s order: https://acluco-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-03-19-Order-Granting-Preliminary-Injunction.pdf

Release: ACLU Lawsuit: El Paso County Sheriff Illegally Holding Prisoners for ICE

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The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.

 



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