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. 

Remembering ACLU of Colorado Board Member and Activist Carrie Ann Lucas

We at the ACLU of Colorado are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and Board member, Carrie Ann Lucas, who died Sunday at the age of 47. Carrie Ann was a teacher, an ordained minister and an attorney who championed representation for parents with disabilities. Her fierce advocacy for disability justice and health care reform had impact across Colorado and nationwide, and her personal life exemplified her values. While living with a severe neuromuscular disease she adopted four children who also had disabilities, and she made sure that they were not only educated and included in their communities, but also loved, respected, and supported as individuals.

Carrie Ann came to the ACLU at the recommendation of long-time national ACLU Board member Tim Fox at the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC). Carrie Ann had a powerful history of activism with multiple organizations, as an advocate and legal assistant for the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, founder of Disabled Parents Rights, and most recently as Staff Attorney and Case Strategies Director for the Colorado Office of Respondent Parents Counsel. She was an advocate for Not Dead Yet and ADAPT, and she gained national attention during ADAPT’s sit in at Senator Cory Gardner’s office, helping turn public opinion against repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Last year, Carrie Ann was a leader in the passage of House Bill 18-1104, which changed Colorado law to ensure that disability was no longer a reason to remove a child from the home. Carrie Ann was a Chancellor’s Scholar at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and she was a recipient of the Equal Justice Works fellowship, the Petra Foundation fellowship, and the Intersectionality Award recipient from CREEC.

As an ACLU board member, Carrie Ann brought her lived experience and a passion for justice that enhanced our own awareness and commitment to disability rights. Other civil liberties issues intersect with disability rights in complex ways, and Carrie Ann brought important insight in those cases. Access issues are everywhere for people with disabilities, and nowhere more so than in the criminal justice system, where a high percentage of people in prisons and jails have some type of disability, but access and adequate care are rare.  The ACLU of Colorado was proud to win curative treatment for hepatitis C for all prisoners, not just those who had reached a point of severe physical damage. Carrie Ann’s own struggle to receive comprehensive healthcare reminds us of how deep the consequences can be of inadequate access and opportunity. We deeply miss Carrie Ann, and will honor her legacy by continuing to support the causes to which she dedicated her life.



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