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. 




ACLU demands that Manitou Springs dismiss unconstitutional panhandling charges against Texas musician

Invoking right of free expression, ACLU demands that Manitou Springs dismiss criminal charges filed against Texas musician under unconstitutional ordinance forbidding ‘panhandling’ CONTACT: Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director, 303-777-5482 x114 In a letter sent today to the City of Manitou Springs prosecuting attorney, the ACLU of Colorado relied on the constitutional right of free expression in demanding that the city dismiss criminal charges filed against a Texas musician accused.... | Read More


ACLU resolves case on behalf of student arrested by Jefferson County officials for peacefully displaying a

CONTACT: Taylor Pendergrass, ACLU Staff Attorney, 303-777-5482 x104 Today the ACLU of Colorado announced that it had reached a settlement agreement with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson County School District on behalf of Blake Benson, avoiding a potential lawsuit. The dispute arose when Jefferson County officials arrested Mr. Benson for displaying a “Nobama” message on a t-shirt prior to an after-school speech by Michelle Obama at Dakota Ridge High School. Mr..... | Read More


ACLU files amicus brief asking Colorado Court of Appeals to reinstate Ward Churchill after a jury found that CU fired him for expressing his beliefs

University Of Colorado Must Reinstate Professor Whose Free Speech Rights Were Violated ACLU, AAUP And NCAC File Brief Urging Court To Uphold First Amendment In Ward Churchill Case CONTACT: Rachel Myers, ACLU national, (212) 549-2689 or 2666 Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director, 303-777-5482 x114 NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Colorado, American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) today submitted a brief to.... | Read More


ACLU sues Denver Police Department for refusal to disclose investigation of alleged racial profiling incident

CONTACT: Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director, 303-777-5482 x114 Steven Zansberg, ACLU Cooperating Attorney, 303-376-2409 April 14, 2010 ACLU lawyers filed suit today against the Denver Police Department (DPD), asserting that it violated Colorado’s open records laws when it refused to disclose any documents from the file of its investigation of two African-American citizens’ complaints of racial profiling arising from a traffic stop on February 13, 2009. The ACLU’s clients,.... | Read More


ACLU Sues Jefferson County Sheriff for Illegally Imprisoning Colorado Resident Suspected of Immigration Violations

CONTACT: Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director, 303-777-5482 x114 Maria Archuleta, ACLU, (212) 519-7808 or 549-2666; DENVER – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Colorado filed a lawsuit in a Colorado federal court today against the Sheriff of Jefferson County in Colorado arguing that he unjustifiably and illegally imprisoned a Colorado resident for 47 days last year simply because federal immigration officers suspected that the man was here in violation of federal immigration.... | Read More


On behalf of homeless man, ACLU takes Boulder

(8/10/10) Contact Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director, 303-777-5482 x114; Mark Walta, ACLU Cooperating Attorney, 303-953-5999 ACLU lawyers announced today a legal challenge to a Boulder ordinance that defines homeless persons as criminals when they are caught sleeping outdoors at night with a blanket or sleeping bag. “When the homeless shelters are closed or full, it is terribly unfair, and unconstitutional, to impose fines and jail sentences on persons who have no choice but to sleep.... | Read More