An American judge sentenced Monday a man from Colorado to 110 years prison. A Colorado man was being tried for inciting an accident in 2019. His truck brakes had failed and he collided with traffic on the interstate. He ultimately killed four.
Rogel Aguilera Mederos was found guilty by the jury in October. He is now 26 and faces 27 charges related to the accident. An additional 15 charges were dismissed.
Even though Aguilera Mederos’ brakes failed, the prosecutors claimed that Aguilera Mederos was to blame for this mechanical problem. According to a local NBC affiliate, Kayla Wildeman said that there were only two possible outcomes to this case. Either the defendant failed to catch the problem as he should have or the defendant caused the brakes to fail. She also told the jury that the driver had failed to mitigate the truck’s failure by not taking an off-ramp when he had the chance: “He saw that ramp….He looked at it and said I can baby this down the hill. He says, “I can do this.” And he passes it. It’s only when he notices all the traffic that he realises: ‘Oh crap! He made a choice. He chose that he would pass.”
His defense countered by pointing out that his decision was not calculated and that the ramp wasn’t easily visible. Perhaps there was tunnel vision. Just think of it: If you have ever felt stressed, even unexpectedly, this is what it means. James Colgan’s attorney for Aguilera Mederos, stated to the jury, “You focus on one thing.” And if it is your first drive under unplanned stress it may not be fair to claim that you deliberately avoided the runaway ramp. This is not what actually happened.”
However, regardless of the fact that this was the case, there will still be many who object to the notion that Aguilera-Mederos has been sentenced and is now in death row. Aguilera Mederos’ sentence was handed down by Judge A. Bruce Jones.
“I’ll state that, if I had to have the discretion,” he stated Monday. He noted that Colorado law mandates that Aguilera Mederos serves some of his sentences simultaneously.
Kevin Ring, the president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums says that this is not the first instance we have heard a judge state, “I am bound by a sentence that I would give if given my discretion,” That should be troubling for everyone.
It didn’t bother the prosecutors who charged Aguilera Mederos with a variety of offenses. Ring says that although it isn’t clear whether Aguilera Mederos was offered a plea agreement, this could have been an example of the trial penal, in which the government throws many charges at the wall hoping that someone will take notice. You cannot use this site unlessA defendant accepts to waive his right to trial
Ring said, “You could imagine that the government, which it does in all cases, tries to solve through plea negotiation, certainly didn’t offer 110years.” The Sixth Amendment right of a jury trial is not granted if you don’t insist. You are likely to be penalized more for similar actions. It’s no surprise that 97% of cases end in guilty pleas.
Aguilera Mederos’ attorney claims that there were discussions around a plea bargain, but nothing was finalized. He refused to say whether the state was involved or Aguilera Mederos.
Unfortunately for his client, Aguilera-Mederos is now resigned to never again tasting freedom—thanks in part to mandatory sentencing laws that allow no room for nuance. Ring says that no matter how reckless or negligent he was, Ring does not believe he meant to harm anyone.