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. 

Statement of ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan-Woodliff Stanley on the passing of ACLU volunteer Arlette Baer

“It is with deep sorrow that we at the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado learned of the recent passing of Arlette Baer.  As a dedicated volunteer at the ACLU for nearly four decades, Arlette’s contributions had an immeasurable impact on our mission to protect and defend the rights of people throughout Colorado.

“We send our thoughts and condolences to the Baer family.  At our 2014 Annual Meeting, we were honored to award the first-ever Arlette Baer Volunteer of the Year Award.  We will continue to give the award every year in Arlette’s memory to recognize those who have followed in her path and to commemorate her service to our organization, for which we are eternally grateful.”

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The following tribute was written by ACLU of Colorado Operations Manager Caryn Osterman and included in our 2014 Annual Report:

When we reflect on how fortunate we are to have such valuable and dedicated volunteers at the ACLU of Colorado, the name Arlette Baer always comes up.

Arlette volunteered for the ACLU for almost 40 years.  She started as an intake volunteer, answering calls from those seeking legal assistance back when our office was located in a two-story house on Pennsylvania Street.

Eventually, Arlette became the office’s membership director, volunteering four hours a day, five days a week. When membership soared after 9/11 to over 11,000 members, Arlette tracked every single one of them.

Before the ACLU, Arlette volunteered with the United Farm Workers, picketing in support of boycotts throughout the state.  She also participated in anti-war protests during the Vietnam era.

Her daughter Simmie, herself a dedicated juvenile defense attorney, says of her mother’s experience at the ACLU of Colorado, “The ACLU was my mother’s home away from home. From the time it was an office of three people, through its many transitions and buildings, she considered everyone her family and made sure she got to the office by 7 in the morning to make coffee.  Her decades at the ACLU provided her friendship, purpose, and the good fight!”

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