Man Sentenced to 110 Years In Prison Is Perfect Case Study for Criminal Reform

Man Sentenced to 110 Years In Prison Is Perfect Case Study for Criminal Reform

( – Over two years ago, a man crashed his semi-truck and trailer into a number of stopped cars on I-70 in Colorado. Recently, a judge served the man a sentence of 110 years for the incident, though he didn’t feel the crime deserved such harsh punishment. Although the judge felt like the sentence was too much, he felt like his hands were tied. However, other people have stepped up to the plate.

The Accident

Vehicular accidents occur more often than most people think, but they don’t always result in disasters like the one that transpired on April 25, 2019. At the time, 23-year-old Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos was driving his truck and trailer on the interstate when suddenly his brakes went out and he lost control of the big rig.

While Aguilera-Mederos insists he didn’t deliberately smash into the group of cars, the prosecuting team says he could’ve easily prevented it. The defendant slammed his semi into the stopped cars, killing four and injuring a half-dozen more. The crash caused an inferno to ignite, damaging several vehicles and melting sections of the asphalt.

The Case

A jury convicted Aguilera-Mederos of 10 counts of attempted first-degree assault, six counts of first-degree assault, four counts of vehicular homicide, four counts of reckless driving causing death, two counts of vehicular assault and a single count of driving recklessly, for a total of 27. The defendant cried as he explained that he hadn’t intentionally crashed into the group of vehicles, noting his brakes went out while on a descending slope from Rocky Mountain foothills.

Contrasting his story, the prosecutors, with evidence from police reports, brought forth that Aguilera-Mederos passed a runaway truck ramp, a specially designed turnout for drivers when they lose control of their vehicles, after realizing he had no brakes. Aguilera-Mederos’ defense argued that their client attempted to navigate traffic to avoid any collisions and missed the ramp.

Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?

According to the judge presiding over the case, A. Bruce Jones, the 110-year sentence Aguilera-Mederos faced wasn’t exactly the ideal punishment for the crime. Jones admitted he wouldn’t have sentenced the young man for nearly as long if he’d had the choice. So, why did he? The answer is in Colorado state law, which dictates that criminal offenders serve mandatory sentences. With the extent of his charges, it’s easy to see why the defendant received the massive sentence. But is it excessive?

Petition to Change

It seems that millions of people believe the court needs to revise Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence. With Colorado’s laws essentially tying the judge’s hands, the people decided to take it into their own. A concerned American started a petition on asking Governor Jared Polis (D-CO) and the prosecuting body to consider a revision to the sentence.

The petition notes that Aguilera-Mederos has a clean driving record, passed drug screens and cooperated with authorities. Mederos has no prior criminal history and showed no indication that he intended to crash into the cars.

The petition asserts the accident was just that. According to the petition, the only party responsible for the disaster is the trucking company the defendant drove for, citing that it has failed several mechanical inspections, especially concerning brakes. The petition requests Governor Polis grant Aguilera-Mederos clemency, or at least commute his sentence, claiming the defendant isn’t a criminal deserving of spending the rest of his days behind bars.

What do you think? Do you believe the petition is right? Or do you agree the sentence is necessary? As of now, over 4.56 million petition signers have shown they believe the punishment is excessive.

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