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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.

Majority of Colorado Sheriffs Now Reject Federal Immigration Detainers

July 2, 2014

DENVER –More than half of Colorado’s 64 sheriffs have confirmed to the ACLU of Colorado that they no longer detain people past their release at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The ACLU has advocated to sheriffs since April that they act without legal authority, and face legal liability, if they rely on detainer requests from ICE as a basis to hold prisoners who would otherwise be released.

Last week, following a $30k settlement between Arapahoe County and an ACLU client who was held for three days on an ICE detainer, the ACLU of Colorado wrote the remaining sheriffs who had not yet confirmed that they had changed their prior policies regarding the holds.  More than half have thus far stopped honoring ICE’s detainer requests.

“When ICE asks a sheriff to hold a prisoner, the agency is essentially asking the sheriff to make a new arrest.  We’ve explained to the sheriffs that Colorado law does not provide them authority to make that arrest,” said Mark Silverstein, Legal Director for the ACLU of Colorado.

Arapahoe County agreed on June 18th to pay $30,000 to Claudia Valdez, a woman who called for help in 2012 following a domestic violence incident, was arrested herself, and held for three days in the Arapahoe County Jail even after a judge had ordered her release, due to a detainer request from ICE.

“Ms. Valdez’s experience underscores the damage to public safety and community trust that results when witnesses and victims of crime are made to fear rather than trust their local law enforcement,” said ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Rebecca Wallace.

In its latest letter, the ACLU of Colorado asked sheriffs who had not yet responded to provide their current policies regarding ICE detainer requests by Thursday, July 3.

“The progress so far has been encouraging, but if any Colorado sheriffs continue to deny people liberty on the basis of ICE detainers, they are going to hear from the ACLU,” added Silverstein.

For a map showing which Colorado counties have stopped honoring ICE detainers, visit https://aclu-co.org/blog/map-ice-detainers/

Additional Resources:

Read the ACLU letter sent to all Colorado sheriffs in April: http://static.aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ACLU-Letter-to-Colorado-Sheriffs.pdf

Read Claudia’s Story: How a Domestic Violence Victim’s Call for Help Resulted in Three Days in Jail and Deportation Proceedings

Read the draft complaint sent to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office prior to settlement negotiations: http://static.aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Complaint-DRAFT.pdf



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