The governor of Colorado commutes the sentence for truck drivers by 100 years, court news

A petition in support of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos received more than 5 million signatures, calling for the leniency of drivers.

In the United States, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has shortened the sentence of a truck driver convicted of vehicular homicide by 110 years, and prosecutors sought clemency in a rare move this week After returning to court, the sentence was shortened to 10 years.

In a commutation letter to the 26-year-old Cuban-born truck driver Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, the governor stated that the April 2019 fiery accident on a mountain highway killed four motorists, which was “tragic but unintentional. the behavior of”.

Aguilera Mederos’ sentence is one of several year-end commutation and pardon decisions issued by Polis on Thursday.

The governor said that truck drivers will be eligible for parole within five years.

A few days ago, a judge arranged for a hearing on January 13 to reconsider the sentence at the request of the district attorney, who planned to reduce the sentence to 20 to 30 years.

More than 5 million people signed an online petition seeking clemency for Aguilera-Mederos, and a jury ruled in October that four counts of vehicular homicide and multiple assaults and recklessness in the explosive incident that resulted in the deaths of 4 people in 2019 Convicted of driving.

On December 22, 2021, people rallied to support truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos at the State Capitol in Denver, Colorado [File: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images]

Aguilera-Mederos testified that he was hauling timber when his semi-trailer brake failed when he was on the steep Interstate 70 in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. His truck crashed into a vehicle that was slowing down due to another accident, causing a chain reaction accident and a fireball, which burned down the vehicle and melted part of the highway.

The live video showed that cars and trucks were engulfed by flames, the flames were soaring, and wood was scattered on the roadway.

Judge Bruce Jones sentenced him to 110 years in prison on December 13 after determining that this was a mandatory minimum sentence under state law, and pointed out that it was not his choice.

The prosecutor argued that when Aguilera-Mederos’ truck was sprinting down the mountain, he could have used an out-of-control ramp next to the interstate that was designed to safely stop braking out-of-control vehicles.

District Attorney Alexis King criticized Polis, saying that the governor had basically shortened the more deliberate judicial process that prosecutors began in consultation with victims’ families and survivors.

“We are disappointed by the governor’s decision to act prematurely,” King said in a statement, adding that the final decision on the fate of Aguilera Medros should be made by the judge.

Jefferson County District Attorney Alex King standing on the podium during a press conferenceThe first judicial district prosecutor Alexis King rarely asked the court to reduce Aguilera Medros’ sentence.[File: Helen H Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images]

At a court hearing on Monday, King demanded that the sentence be reduced to 20 to 30 years, arguing that leniency is necessary if there is no criminal intent.

Defense lawyer James Colgan called King’s actions “dishonest.” “Two weeks ago, they (the prosecutors) were sentenced to my client for 110 years without any problem until it caused a public outcry,” he told the news agency Reuters after a hearing on Monday. “It’s all political.”

The crash killed 24-year-old Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 67-year-old William Bailey, 61-year-old Doyle Harrison, and 69-year-old Stanley Politano.

The governor said that this case is expected to trigger discussions on sentencing laws, but he pointed out that any future changes will not help Aguilera Mederos.

Polis said the driver was “not blameless,” but the 110-year sentence was “disproportionate” compared to those who committed “intentional, premeditated, or violent crimes.”

“There is an urgent need to correct this unfair sentence and restore confidence in the unity and fairness of our criminal justice system, so I choose to reduce the sentence now,” Polis wrote.

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