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: acluco.org/redemption. 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?
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 https://action.aclu.org/give/support-aclu-colorado
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.
ACLU of Colorado Statement on Gov. Polis’ Guidance to Local Law Enforcement
March 25, 2020 Statement by: ACLU of Colorado, Office of the State Public Defender, Office of Alternate Defense Counsel, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Denver Municipal Public Defender, Colorado Freedom Fund and Office of Respondent Parent Counsel. On March 17, nine criminal justice and indigent defense organizations sent a letter to Governor Polis and Chief Justice Coats, among others, urging immediate action to address the heightened risk of COVID-19 spreading to incarcerated.... | Read More
Colorado Now the 22nd State to Repeal the Death Penalty
Even in the midst of coronavirus shut-downs, we have an opportunity today to celebrate. Today, Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 100 repealing the death penalty in Colorado and clearing death row. This long-overdue achievement makes Colorado the 22nd state to repeal the death penalty, finally ending this broken, costly, and unjust system in our state. As I complete my last month as Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado after almost eight years in this position, I am particularly happy.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado is Calling for the Release of Incarcerated Youth to Prevent a Public Health Crisis
March 19, 2020 DENVER — Today a coalition of organizations sent a letter to Colorado juvenile justice officials outlining immediate actions to take to protect incarcerated children. As these youth are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking system actors to respond swiftly to recommendations put forth by public health experts — specifically calling for the immediate release of youth identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as vulnerable, as.... | Read More
Governor and State Officials Urged to Reduce Jail and Prison Population During COVID-19 Pandemic
March 17, 2020 DENVER – With the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus/COVID-19 climbing in Colorado, several organizations called on Governor Polis, State Court Administrator Vasconcellos, and Chief Justice Coats, as well as the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Colorado Parole Board and the Colorado Department of Safety, to take immediate action to protect the lives of vulnerable inmates, guards, correctional and court staff, attorneys, probation officers, parole officers, their families.... | Read More
Notice from the Executive Director
To protect our staff and the public from the COVID-19 coronavirus, staff of the ACLU of Colorado will be working from home for at least the next two weeks starting Monday, March 16. Please do not come to our office, which will be closed, but be assured that we will still be working hard to protect civil rights and civil liberties in Colorado. Your patience is appreciated with any returned deliveries or delays in processing of mail. For legal intakes, you are encouraged to use our web-based form if.... | Read More
Donate Your Refund to Fight for Your Rights
This tax season, there’s an exciting new way to turn your refund into real results. ReFUND CO allows you to donate your state income tax return to a local nonprofit like ACLU of Colorado. Simply decide how much of your state income tax refund to donate, enter American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado, Inc. and our registration number, 20023005801, on the “Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit Fund” line on your state tax return or tax software. With a few simple steps, you’re one step.... | Read More