Civil Rights Clinic in the News

  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Civil Rights Clinic, Decoteau v. Raemisch

Decoteau versus Raemisch

On June 29, 2016, U.S. District Judge William Martinez approved a settlement agreement in Decoteau v. Raemisch. This class action lawsuit, litigated by student attorneys and professors with the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Civil Rights Clinic, as well as attorneys at the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC), resulted in the provision of outdoor exercise for prisoners at Colorado State Penitentiary. For over twenty years, the close custody prisoners who occupy CSP – the vast majority of whom were held in conditions of solitary confinement – were only permitted to exercise in a cell similar to their living cell, with a narrow slit of a window that opened directly to the outdoors. As a result, these prisoners went months, years, or even decades without feeling the rain or sun. As a result of this case, which arose from an earlier individual lawsuit also litigated by the Civil Rights Clinic and CREEC (Anderson v. Colorado), the Colorado Department of Corrections will construct three outdoor exercise yards at CSP. The outcome in Decoteau has meaningfully contributed to the advancement of civil rights, because a group of students, their clinic professors, and a small civil rights nonprofit – along with the incarcerated men who served as named plaintiffs and constituted members of the class – took on the Colorado Department of Corrections, ultimately obtaining for some 500 prisoners the ability to exercise outdoors.

  • Over the past few years, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law has received national recognition for its extensive experiential learning opportunities. Most recently, the law school and the Civil Rights Clinic were featured in National Jurist’s spring 2016 issue – Denver Law is the lead item in the cover story, and was ranked No. 9 in the nation for Best Schools for Practical Training.
  • June 15, 2012 – Written Testimony of Professor Laura Rovner, Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights Hearing on Reassessing Solitary Confinement: The Human Rights, Fiscal, and Public Safety Consequences