Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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.

Prison Officials Must Disclose CO Lethal Injection Protocol

August 2, 2013

Judge rules execution details needed to further public conversation about the death penalty

DENVER –Disclosure of Colorado’s current execution protocol will further the public interest and facilitate public conversation about the state’s use of the death penalty, according to a ruling issued yesterday by Denver District Court Judge R. Michael Mullins.

The court ruled that the Colorado Department of Corrections’ denial of an ACLU of Colorado request for access to a “restricted distribution” document outlining Colorado’s execution protocol and training was “arbitrary and an abuse of discretion.”

“We welcome the Court’s ruling. It’s a good day for transparency in public records and for furthering the public conversation about the death penalty in Colorado,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein.

According to Judge Mullins’ ruling, “CDOC has failed to demonstrate that disclosure of a properly redacted Execution Protocol would be contrary to the public interest. Particularly in light of Governor Hickenlooper's recent reprieve, which calls for a public conversation about the death penalty in Colorado, disclosure of these records would further the public interest.”

“The public has an interest in knowing how Colorado intends to carry out its executions, one of any government’s most serious functions,” said Lauren Schmidt of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, who argued the case as a cooperating attorney on behalf of the ACLU. “The Court’s ruling will help facilitate an important discussion about Colorado’s lethal injection procedures.”

Though the court’s ruling did not specify a deadline for providing the redacted document, Silverstein said he hopes the Department of Corrections will make it available “as soon as humanly possible.”

Read the District Court’s ruling.

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