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. 

Need Legal Help?

NOTICE: To protect our staff and the public from the COVID-19 coronavirus, ACLU of Colorado staff will be working from home starting Monday, March 16, 2020. For legal intakes, you are encouraged to use our web-based form if at all possible. Please expect delays while we process legal intake forms remotely. Thank you. 

Intake form:

AVISO: Para proteger a nuestro personal y al público del coronavirus COVID-19, el personal de la ACLU de Colorado trabajará desde casa a partir del lunes 16 de Marzo de 2020. Para las ingestas legales, se le recomienda que use nuestro sitio web forma si es posible. Espere demoras mientras procesamos los formularios de admisión legal de forma remota. Gracias.

Forma legal:

Necesita Ayuda Legal?

The ACLU of Colorado does not review requests for legal assistance in person or over the telephone.
To ask the ACLU for legal assistance, you can write a letter (see instructions below) or fill out our online form.
To submit a request online, please click here.
To send a request by letter, send your letter to:

Intake Department
ACLU of Colorado
303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 350
Denver, CO 80203
Attn: Legal Intake

Please limit your correspondence to 2-3 pages; do not send original documents by mail as these will not be returned.

Be sure to include your mailing address, e-mail address (if available), phone number, and DOC number (if applicable). If you write from a county jail or other temporary facility, please include the name and contact information of a close relative or friend who will always know where you are.

In your letter, please describe in detail the incident or the issue that prompts you to request legal assistance:

  • In describing the incident, it may be helpful to answer the five “W” questions: who, what, when, where, and why.
  • Be sure to identify the persons, business, institutions, or government agencies who are responsible for violating your rights.
  • If the offending person or agency provided you with some sort of explanation, please let us know. If possible, please explain why you believe that explanation is not adequate.
  • If the specific incident resulted in newspaper coverage, it may be helpful to include copies of the clippings.
  • If you have documents, please send copies only; we cannot return originals.
  • If your complaint involves mistreatment by police officers, it is especially helpful if you could obtain a copy of whatever report the police wrote.
  • If you have already taken some action, such as filing an appeal or a complaint, please let us know the status of the matter.
  • Please indicate whether the ACLU is authorized to write a letter of inquiry or a letter of protest using your name.
  • Finally, please let us know what you are asking the ACLU to do for you.

Please note. The ACLU of Colorado generally does not accept the following types of cases:

  • Family law. The ACLU of Colorado generally does not provide assistance in family law cases involving disputes about divorces, child custody, parenting time, or visitation.
  • Denial of government benefits. The ACLU is unlikely to challenge a specific case of the denial of government benefits, such as worker’s compensation, unemployment, social security, or food stamps.
  • Landlord-tenant disputes. The ACLU does not generally get involved in disputes between tenants and their private landlords, unless the issue involves discrimination prohibited by statute or ordinance.
  • Criminal defense. The ACLU generally does not provide criminal defense attorneys to persons who are accused of crimes. There is an exception, however, when the alleged criminal activity clearly implicates a constitutional right such as freedom of speech. Thus, the ACLU is unlikely to provide a criminal defense to someone charged with burglary, even if the person asserts that the evidence was obtained in a search that violates the Fourth Amendment. On the other hand, the ACLU would consider assisting in the criminal defense of persons arrested for participating in a demonstration, if the arrests infringed on the right of free expression.
  • Challenges to convictions or prison sentences. It is very unlikely that the ACLU would provide an attorney to challenge a person’s criminal conviction or the length of a prison sentence. Similarly, the ACLU will not be able to help prisoners who believe that the length of their sentence has been calculated incorrectly. If a pending appeal raises an important constitutional issue, the ACLU may submit an amicus brief in the appellate courts. Requests for amicus briefs should come from your appellate attorney.
  • Complaints about attorneys. The ACLU does not handle complaints about a person’s current court-appointed attorney.
  • Employment. The ACLU usually cannot help when employees believes that they were fired unjustly or were otherwise treated unfairly at work. This is especially true when the employer is a private company rather than a government agency. But when workers can show that they were fired or mistreated because of their race, gender, ethnic background, religion, disability or any other basis that violates anti-discrimination statutes, there is stronger legal protection. In such cases, we ask that you pursue your complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) before you send a letter to the ACLU of Colorado. For information about filing a complaint with the CCRD, go to or call the agency at 303-894-2997.
  • Cases that are too old. There are time deadlines for initiating most legal actions. If the incident occurred too far in the past, it may be too late for a legal remedy. The ACLU of Colorado cannot provide advice about what time deadlines may apply to your particular legal matter.

For information on other organizations that may be able to assist you, visit our Resources page.

Necesita Ayuda Legal

La Unión Americana de las Libertades Civiles (ACLU por sus siglas en inglés) de Colorado no responde a llamadas solicitando consejos legales, ni a preguntas sobre el estatus de una queja ya sometida. Tampoco respondemos a solicitaciones de consejos legales en persona. Si desea someter una queja para la consideración de nuestro panel legal, por favor mándenos una carta, un correo electrónico o un fax. Mande su solicitación a:

ACLU of Colorado
303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 350
Denver, CO 80203
Attn: Legal Intake

O: por correo electrónico a
O: mande un fax a 303-777-1773

Le avisaremos dentro de 4 a 8 semanas si su caso ha sido aceptado para litigación.

Por favor limítese a escribir solo 2 o 3 páginas. No nos mande documentos originales por correo porque no podemos devolverlos. Por favor permita por lo menos 30 días para la consideración de su carta. Si usted decide contactarnos por correo electrónico, por favor ponga le descripción de su queja en el cuerpo del correo electrónico. No podemos responder a preguntas por teléfono sobre el estatus de una queja ya sometida.

Por favor incluya su dirección, correo electrónico (si lo tiene), número de teléfono y número de prisionero (número de DOC por sus siglas en inglés, si le aplica). Si usted nos escribe desde una cárcel de condado, una cárcel de la migra u otra cárcel temporaria, por favor incluya el nombre y las dirección de un/a amigo/a o pariente quien siempre sabrá donde está usted.

Para información sobre otros recursos, por favor lea nuestra página sobre recursos para los inmigrantes.

En su carta, por favor describa en detalle la queja o la violación de sus derechos civiles qué le impele a solicitar asistencia legal:

  • Describa los hechos y conteste estas preguntas sobre su caso: ¿quién?, ¿qué?, ¿cuándo?, ¿dónde?, y ¿por qué?
  • Identifique las personas, los negocios, las instituciones o las agencias del gobierno que han violado sus derechos.
  • Si esta persona u organización le dio una explicación por sus acciones, por favor cuéntenos. Si es posible, explíquenos porque usted cree que esta explanación no sea suficiente.
  • Si el incidente resultó en cobertura por la prensa, por favor incluya copias de los artículos sobre el incidente.
  • Si su queja incluye maltratamiento perpetrado por la policía, trate de obtener una copia del informe de policía.
  • Si usted ya empezó a tomar acción legal, como presentar una demanda o una apelación, por favor explique el estatus de su caso.
  • Por favor indique si usted autoriza a la ACLU a escribir una carta solicitando más información o una carta de protesta usando su nombre.
  • Finalmente, por favor explique el tipo de ayuda que usted está solicitando de las ACLU.

La ACLU de Colorado generalmente no acepta estos tipos de casos:

  • Casos de ley familiar. La ACLU de Colorado generalmente no suministra asesoramiento legal en casos de ley familiar como divorcio, custodia de niños o manutención de niños.
  • Casos sobre beneficios públicos negados. La ACLU generalmente no toma casos sobre beneficios públicos, tales como la compensación de trabajadores o beneficios de desempleo.
  • Casos relacionados a conflictos entre propietarios e inquilinos. La ACLU generalmente no acepta casos relacionados a conflictos entre propietarios e inquilinos a menos que el caso trata de discriminación prohibida por un estatuto o una ordenanza.
  • Casos criminales. La ACLU generalmente no suministra asesoramiento legal en casos criminales. Hay una excepción, sin embargo, cuando la acusación implica un derecho constitucional como la libertad de expresión. Por un lado, por ejemplo, la ACLU generalmente no suministra defensa criminal a una persona acusada de robar una casa aún si la evidencia fue obtenido en un cacheo que violó las Cuarta Enmienda de las Constitución de los Estados Unidos. Por el otro lado, la ACLU podría considerar suministrando asesoramiento legal, por ejemplo, si el acusado fue arrestado por participar en una demostración política y ejercitar su libertad de expresión.
  • Quejas sobre su sentencia de la cárcel o convicción. La ACLU casi nunca provee un abogado para negar una convicción criminal o la duración de una sentencia. La ACLU casi nunca provee un abogado para negar una convicción criminal o la duración de una sentencia. La ACLU tampoco puede ayudar a los prisioneros quienes creen que la duración du su sentencia ha sido calculado equivocadamente. Si una apelación pendiente implica un derecho constitucional importante, puede ser que la ACLU sometería un informe de amicus curiae (un informe escrito que trata de apoyar a la corte con información qué puede ser tomada en cuenta al momento de dictarse sentencia y no es parte en el procedimiento) en las cortes de apelación. Solicitaciones para informes de amicus curiae deberían ser sometidos por su abogado de apelación.
  • Quejas sobre un defensor público. La ACLU no responde a quejas sobre un abogado fijado por la corte.
  • Casos laborales. La ACLU generalmente no suministra asesoramiento legal en casos laborales cuando un/a empleado/a cree que ha sido despedido sin razón o tratado mal en su lugar de empleo, especialmente cuando trabaja por una empresa privada en vez de una agencia del gobierno. Sin embargo, cuando la situación trata de discriminación relacionado con la raza, el sexo o la religión del/de la empleado/a u otra razón qué está en violación de leyes contra la discriminación, existen más oportunidades para tomar acción legal. En casos relacionados con las discriminación, por favor contacte a la División de Derechos Civiles de Colorado, (Colorado Civil Rights Division o CCRD por sus siglas en inglés) antes de mandar una carta a la ACLU de Colorado. Usted puede acceder más información sobre como someter una queja a la CCRD en su sitio de internet: o llamando a la agencia a 303-894-2997.
  • Casos qué ya están demasiado viejo. La mayoría de los reclamos legales tienen fechas límites. Si el incidente ocurrió hace much tiempo, puede ser que ya es demasiado tarde para tomar acción legal. La ACLU de Colorado no puedo darle información sobre cuales plazos de tiempo pueden aplicar a sus particular asunto legal.