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. 

Vote No 67 Celebrates Victory for Colorado Women, Doctors, Families

Effort To Ban Abortions and Restrict Contraception Defeated for the Third Time


DENVER – The voters of Colorado have rejected – for the third time since 2008 – a far-reaching constitutional amendment designed to ban all abortions in Colorado, including in cases of rape, incest and when the health of the mother is at risk. Amendment 67 would have gone so far as to restrict access to commonly used forms of birth control, including the Pill and IUDs — and ban in-vitro fertilization for infertile couples who are hoping to have families.

“We’re thrilled that the voters of Colorado were able to, once again, see through the very deceptive ballot language of Amendment 67 and reject it outright,” said Fofi Mendez, campaign director of the Vote NO 67 Campaign. “Once again, Colorado has made it clear that issues surrounding women’s healthcare are personal, private decisions, and not those of the government, courts and lawyers.”

The Vote NO 67 Campaign is comprised of a broad-based, nonpartisan coalition of doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, attorneys, civil libertarians, Latina, African-American, Asian-American organizations, and dozens of community groups. Since the Vote NO 67 Campaign launched in July, more than 75 organizations signed on in formal support, ranging from the Colorado Bar Association to the Colorado Medical Society to the El Paso County Libertarian Party. Nineteen newspapers editorialized against the measure.

No news organization supported Amendment 67, which was sponsored by Personhood USA and Colorado Right To Life. Those groups sponsored similar constitutional amendments in 2008 and 2010, which were overwhelmingly defeated.

If passed, Amendment 67 would have expanded the term “person” in the Colorado Constitution to include “unborn human being” – which has no established legal or medical definition. Attorneys, medical professionals and others noted the result would have criminalized women and their doctors.

“The voters have said, again, they believe women should make their own healthcare decisions,” said Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Coloradans believe that women should be free to make their own decisions about where, when and how to have children. They believe that women should have the ability to use the birth control that works best for them, to be able to use in-vitro fertilization to have children, and to make their own medical decisions when their health is in jeopardy.”

“Colorado voters sent a clear message today that no matter how deceptive the language, personhood initiatives that criminalize women and invite government into their private lives do not match Colorado values and have no place in our laws or our Constitution,” said Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, executive director of the ACLU of Colorado.

Said Cristina Aguilar, executive director of COLOR (Colorado Organization for Latina for Opportunity & Reproductive Rights): “Amendment 67 would have threatened our ability as women and Latinas to make important choices about our health care, including when and how to start a family. These decisions are best left for a woman to make with her family, her doctors and her faith.”

“Colorado voters have a longstanding, mainstream belief in supporting abortion rights and reproductive health care, and we saw that belief in action with the defeat of Amendment 67, said Karen Middleton, President of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado. “NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado members and supporters played an important role in letting voters know about this deceptive, dangerous amendment. We hope those behind Amendment 67 have learned once again that they are on the wrong side of Colorado voters and values and take NO for an answer.”

Said Cowart, of Planned Parenthood, “These groups should respect the values of Colorado voters and stop trying to force their political agenda on us. We will continue to fight this fight because we know Colorado women and families deserve access to the reproductive health care services they need.  With the money we invested to defeat this campaign, we could have provided additional services to thousands of women and families in Colorado. But, we advocate for women both inside our health centers as well as in the public arena.”

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