Denver Direct: Your Rights (Colorado Constitution)
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
In order to assert our rights, acknowledge our duties, and proclaim the principles upon which our government is founded, we declare:
Section 1. Vestment of political power. All political power is vested in and derived from the people; all government, of right, originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.
Section 2. People may alter or abolish form of government – proviso. The people of this state have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign and independent state; and to alter and abolish their constitution and form of government whenever they may deem it necessary to their safety and happiness, provided, such change be not repugnant to the constitution of the United States.
Section 3. Inalienable rights. All persons have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
Section 4. Religious freedom. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever hereafter be guaranteed; and no person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or capacity, on account of his opinions concerning religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or affirmations, excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the good order, peace or safety of the state. No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry or place of worship, religious sect or denomination against his consent. Nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship.
Section 5. Freedom of elections. All elections shall be free and open; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.
Section 6. Equality of justice. Courts of justice shall be open to every person, and a speedy remedy afforded for every injury to person, property or character; and right and justice should be administered without sale, denial or delay.
Section 7. Security of person and property – searches – seizures – warrants. The people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place or seize any person or things shall issue without describing the place to be searched, or the person or thing to be seized, as near as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation reduced to writing.
Section 8. Prosecutions – indictment or information. Until otherwise provided by law, no person shall, for a felony, be proceeded against criminally otherwise than by indictment, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger. In all other cases, offenses shall be prosecuted criminally by indictment or information.
Section 9. Treason – estates of suicides. Treason against the state can consist only in levying war against it or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort; no person can be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on his confession in open court; no person can be attainted of treason or felony by the general assembly; no conviction can work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate; the estates of such persons as may destroy their own lives shall descend or vest as in cases of natural death.
Section 10. Freedom of speech and press. No law shall be passed impairing the freedom of speech; every person shall be free to speak, write or publish whatever he will on any subject, being responsible for all abuse of that liberty; and in all suits and prosecutions for libel the truth thereof may be given in evidence, and the jury, under the direction of the court, shall determine the law and the fact.
Section 11. Ex post facto laws. No ex post facto law, nor law impairing the obligation of contracts, or retrospective in its operation, or making any irrevocable grant of special privileges, franchises or immunities, shall be passed by the general assembly.
Section 12. No imprisonment for debt. No person shall be imprisoned for debt, unless upon refusal to deliver up his estate for the benefit of his creditors in such manner as shall be prescribed by law, or in cases of tort or where there is a strong presumption of fraud.
Section 13. Right to bear arms. The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.
Section 14. Taking private property for private use. Private property shall not be taken for private use unless by consent of the owner, except for private ways of necessity, and except for reservoirs, drains, flumes or ditches on or across the lands of others, for agricultural, mining, milling, domestic or sanitary purposes.
Section 15. Taking property for public use – compensation, how ascertained. Private property shall not be taken or damaged, for public or private use, without just compensation. Such compensation shall be ascertained by a board of commissioners, of not less than three freeholders, or by a jury, when required by the owner of the property, in such manner as may be prescribed by law, and until the same shall be paid to the owner, or into court for the owner, the property shall not be needlessly disturbed, or the proprietary rights of the owner therein divested; and whenever an attempt is made to take private property for a use alleged to be public, the question whether the contemplated use be really public shall be a judicial question, and determined as such without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public.
Section 16. Criminal prosecutions – rights of defendant. In criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to appear and defend in person and by counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; to meet the witnesses against him face to face; to have process to compel the attendance of witnesses in his behalf, and a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense is alleged to have been committed.
Section 16a. Rights of crime victims. Any person who is a victim of a criminal act, or such person’s designee, legal guardian, or surviving immediate family members if such person is deceased, shall have the right to be heard when relevant, informed, and present at all critical stages of the criminal justice process. All terminology, including the term “critical stages”, shall be defined by the general assembly.
Section 17. Imprisonment of witnesses – depositions – form. No person shall be imprisoned for the purpose of securing his testimony in any case longer than may be necessary in order to take his deposition. If he can give security he shall be discharged; if he cannot give security his deposition shall be taken by some judge of the supreme, district or county court, at the earliest time he can attend, at some convenient place by him appointed for that purpose, of which time and place the accused and the attorney prosecuting for the people shall have reasonable notice. The accused shall have the right to appear in person and by counsel. If he has no counsel, the judge shall assign him one in his behalf only. On the completion of such examination the witness shall be discharged on his own recognizance, entered into before said judge, but such deposition shall not be used if in the opinion of the court the personal attendance of the witness might be procured by the prosecution, or is procured by the accused. No exception shall be taken to such deposition as to matters of form.
Section 18. Crimes – evidence against one’s self – jeopardy. No person shall be compelled to testify against himself in a criminal case nor shall any person be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense. If the jury disagree, or if the judgment be arrested after the verdict, or if the judgment be reversed for error in law, the accused shall not be deemed to have been in jeopardy.
Section 19. Right to bail – exceptions. (1) All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties pending disposition of charges except:
(a) For capital offenses when proof is evident or presumption is great; or
(b) When, after a hearing held within ninety-six hours of arrest and upon reasonable notice, the court finds that proof is evident or presumption is great as to the crime alleged to have been committed and finds that the public would be placed in significant peril if the accused were released on bail and such person is accused in any of the following cases:
(I) A crime of violence, as may be defined by the general assembly, alleged to have been committed while on probation or parole resulting from the conviction of a crime of violence;
(II) A crime of violence, as may be defined by the general assembly, alleged to have been committed while on bail pending the disposition of a previous crime of violence charge for which probable cause has been found;
(III) A crime of violence, as may be defined by the general assembly, alleged to have been committed after two previous felony convictions, or one such previous felony conviction if such conviction was for a crime of violence, upon charges separately brought and tried under the laws of this state or under the laws of any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States which, if committed in this state, would be a felony; or
(c) (Deleted by amendment, L. 94, p. 2853, effective upon proclamation of the Governor, L. 95, p. 1434, January 1, 1995.)
(2) Except in the case of a capital offense, if a person is denied bail under this section, the trial of the person shall be commenced not more than ninety days after the date on which bail is denied. If the trial is not commenced within ninety days and the delay is not attributable to the defense, the court shall immediately schedule a bail hearing and shall set the amount of the bail for the person.
(2.5) (a) The court may grant bail after a person is convicted, pending sentencing or appeal, only as provided by statute as enacted by the general assembly; except that no bail is allowed for persons convicted of:
(II) Any felony sexual assault involving the use of a deadly weapon;
(III) Any felony sexual assault committed against a child who is under fifteen years of age;
(IV) A crime of violence, as defined by statute enacted by the general assembly; or
(V) Any felony during the commission of which the person used a firearm.
(b) The court shall not set bail that is otherwise allowed pursuant to this subsection (2.5) unless the court finds that:
(I) The person is unlikely to flee and does not pose a danger to the safety of any person or the community; and
(II) The appeal is not frivolous or is not pursued for the purpose of delay.
(3) This section shall take effect January 1, 1995, and shall apply to offenses committed on or after said date.
Section 20. Excessive bail, fines or punishment. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Section 21. Suspension of habeas corpus. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall never be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.
Section 22. Military subject to civil power – quartering of troops. The military shall always be in strict subordination to the civil power; no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war except in the manner prescribed by law.
Section 23. Trial by jury – grand jury. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate in criminal cases; but a jury in civil cases in all courts, or in criminal cases in courts not of record, may consist of less than twelve persons, as may be prescribed by law. Hereafter a grand jury shall consist of twelve persons, any nine of whom concurring may find an indictment; provided, the general assembly may change, regulate or abolish the grand jury system; and provided, further, the right of any person to serve on any jury shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex, and the general assembly may provide by law for the exemption from jury service of persons or classes of persons.
Section 24. Right to assemble and petition. The people have the right peaceably to assemble for the common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, by petition or remonstrance.
Section 25. Due process of law. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.
Section 26. Slavery prohibited. There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.
Section 27. Property rights of aliens. Aliens, who are or may hereafter become bona fide residents of this state, may acquire, inherit, possess, enjoy and dispose of property, real and personal, as native born citizens.
Section 28. Rights reserved not disparaged. The enumeration in this constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny, impair or disparage others retained by the people.
Section 29. Equality of the sexes. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the state of Colorado or any of its political subdivisions on account of sex.
Section 30. Right to vote or petition on annexation – enclaves. (1) No unincorporated area may be annexed to a municipality unless one of the following conditions first has been met:
(a) The question of annexation has been submitted to the vote of the landowners and the registered electors in the area proposed to be annexed, and the majority of such persons voting on the question have voted for the annexation; or
(b) The annexing municipality has received a petition for the annexation of such area signed by persons comprising more than fifty percent of the landowners in the area and owning more than fifty percent of the area, excluding public streets, and alleys and any land owned by the annexing municipality; or
(c) The area is entirely surrounded by or is solely owned by the annexing municipality.
(2) The provisions of this section shall not apply to annexations to the city and county of Denver, to the extent that such annexations are governed by other provisions of the constitution.
(3) The general assembly may provide by law for procedures necessary to implement this section. This section shall take effect upon completion of the canvass of votes taken thereon.
Section 30a. Official language. The English language is the official language of the State of Colorado.
This section is self executing; however, the General Assembly may enact laws to implement this section.
Section 30b. No Protected Status Based on Homosexual, Lesbian or Bisexual Orientation. Neither the State of Colorado, through any of its branches or departments, nor any of its agencies, political subdivisions, municipalities or school districts, shall enact, adopt or enforce any statute, regulation, ordinance or policy whereby homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships shall constitute or otherwise be the basis of or entitle any person or class of persons to have or claim any minority status, quota preferences, protected status or claim of discrimination. This Section of the Constitution shall be in all respects self-executing.
at 5:35 PM
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