The recent sentencing of Rogel Aguilera Mederos sparked significant criticism. A Colorado man, Rogel Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced to 110 year imprisonment for causing an accident which resulted in the deaths of four persons. First to protest the sentence was Alexis King, the first judge to impose it. He lamented the state’s mandatory sentencing laws and resigned. Alexis King (First Judicial District attorney), who requested the penalty in the first places, is speaking out now. There are reasonsShe never believed that such a drastic response to public safety was needed.
“My administration contemplated a significantly different outcome in this case and initiated plea negotiations but Mr. Aguilera-Mederos declined to consider anything other than a traffic ticket,” she told me last week.
The statement of King may not be shocking at first glance. Plea agreements are part and parcel of U.S. legal system. Her remarks revealed something more. Her own confession reveals that Aguilera Mederos was not sentenced to death in prison for imposing his constitutional right of trial.
The “trial penalty” is a term used by prosecutors to impose unnecessary charges on defendants and threaten them with a long sentence in prison if they don’t plead guilty. If the defendant continues to insist that he is innocent, or if a jury convicts, they will most likely be sentenced. MoreMore severe sentences for similar actions. Only difference? He invoked the Sixth Amendment.
King’s office refused to discuss the details of her offer. As I said last week, however, it wouldn’t have been even close to 110 years.
“Prosecutors vastly prefer for cases, almost always, to resolve through plea bargains. Clark Neily is senior vice president of legal studies at Cato Institute. “They’re quicker, and they are much more sure for the government.” Clark Neily says. “Jury trials by contrast are expensive, time consuming, and uncertain….What [prosecutors]They will often try to be creative and bring all the charges they can, basically to make the defendant more visible.”
This exposure can be used as a bargaining chip to get time behind bars. Aguilera Mederos gambled. The mandatory sentence of a century plus was imposed upon him after he was convicted on 27 counts.
The government and defense both acknowledged Aguilera Mederos’ truck brakes failed, and also that Aguilera Mederos wasn’t driving with malice. It is easy to see how he believed a jury would sympathize with him. It was true: After the sentence, one member of the panel admitted that he “cried.” [his]”eyes out,” not realizing that he would face such severe punishment if convicted of the charges brought by the government. (Juries are not told what penalties are attached to crimes.
Aguilera Mederos was courageous and unusual in his decision. His fate sheds light on the reason why only 3 percent of cases are tried. It is possible to pay for your own life.
This once scandalous practice has become a commonplace in the United States. In Maricopa County, Arizona, defendants receive a warning on prospective plea deals: “THE OFFER IS WITHDRAWN IF THE WITNESS PRELIMINARY HEARING IS SET OR WAIVED….*NOTE: COUNTY ATTORNEY POLICY DICTATES THAT IF THE DEFENDANT REJECTS THIS OFFER, ANY SUBSEQUENT OFFER TENDERED WILL BE SUBSTANTIALLY HARSHER.” This means that defendants can be penalized for simply wanting to see or attend the hearing. American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adler, alleging this practice is illegal.
Last week, King quietly began the process to have Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence—the one she asked for—reduced. According to King, she will speak with victims’ families for advice on the best sentence. The Denver Post. Olayemi Olurin is a Legal Aid Society staff attorney. It’s about how you think it is right to punish someone, she said. We’re not actually trying to determine if or not it’s the best thing for society. However, we do need to address this problem. It is important to acknowledge that sometimes harm can happen. You can’t necessarily right that wrong….Tragedies can happen, and it doesn’t mean a person needs to spend 110 years in jail.”
Aguilera Mederos might not be required to complete the sentence. Not every defendant can charm society with the unjust sentence he is serving. King sent out a powerful message to all future defendants.
Neily says, “It is sort of an modern-day crucifixion.” This sentence isn’t about the defendant. This sentence discourages other defendants exercising their rights. TheirRight up to the trial