Prison term reduced from 110 to 10 years under public pressure — Analysis
A petition was signed by around 5 million people asking for the commute of the severe sentence handed to the truck driver in the USA after a fatal accident.
After public protest, Colorado’s governor commuted Rogel Aguilera Mederos’ sentence from 110 to 10 years. He was the truck driver who was in the crash that claimed four lives in 2019. Parole eligibility is available in five.
“The length of your 110-year sentence is simply not commensurate with your actions, nor with penalties handed down to others for similar crimes,” Governor Jared Polis wrote in Aguilera-Mederos’ commutation letter on Thursday.
Polis explained why he made his decision in the “urgency to remedy this unjust sentence and restore confidence in the uniformity and fairness of our criminal justice system.”
A 2019 crash that put the Cuban immigrant behind bars resulted in a “tragic but unintentional act,”“The governor declared.”
Aguilera-Mederos’ truck smashed into stationary traffic and caught fire, killing four people, injuring a dozen more, and creating a major pile-up in Lakewood, Colorado.
According to the driver, the truck’s brakes failed after he crashed into another vehicle. His system was not tested for alcohol and drugs after the crash. Aguilera Mederos repeatedly asked for forgiveness from the family members of victims during the trial. He said that he would rather have died at the accident than be hurt.
However, the prosecutors stated that the 26-year old knew of the brake problem and was driving in dangerous conditions. They also claimed that he missed at least one truck ramp, where he should have stopped, which is what the prosecutors said.
Aguilera Mederos was sentenced to 27 counts including vehicular murder.
Colorado law requires that a judge impose minimum sentences on all convictions. They must be consecutive, which results in a man being sentenced to 110 years imprisonment.
It was also too harsh. The judge said: “If I had the discretion, it wouldn’t be my sentence.”
The public was also shocked by the verdict, with over 5 million people signing a petition asking for Aguilera-Mederos’ term to be reduced. Kim Kardashian West, reality television star and one of the signatories was also present.
Petition argued that driver was not cooperative with investigation. “not a criminal”And that his trucking firm should be held accountable.
On social media, fellow truck driver friends also stated that they will boycott Colorado because of the sentencing.
“We believe justice has finally come to light for Rogel,” James Colgan, Aguilera-Mederos’ lawyer, said in response to the commutation of his client’s term. “We feel grateful.”
Kardashian West also thanked Polis for his decision, writing on Twitter that the trucker’s case was “a clear example of why mandatory minimums don’t work and need to be abolished.”
Many thanks @GovofCOThank you for your efforts to decrease Mr. Aguilera Mederos’ sentence. Although his sentence has been reduced to ten year, he’ll be able to return home in five years.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 30, 2021
But not everyone was happy. Alexis King, the District Attorney said she was “disappointed in the Governor’s decision to act prematurely.”
A hearing to reconsider Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence had been planned, with King saying she intended to ask the judge for it to be reduced to up to 30 years.
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