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.

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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