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Rogel Aguilera-Mederos Sentence Reduced from 110 to 10 Years

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Rogel Aguilera-Mederos

Truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos got a reduced sentence from 110 years to 10 years, following a widespread outcry in the U.S. which included more than five million people signing a petition to reduce his sentence, including TV star and law student Kim Kardashian. Aguilera-Mederos would be eligible to apply for parole in five years.

Aguilera-Mederos crashed into traffic in 2019, killing four people in Colorado. In a trial, he was convicted on 27 counts, including vehicular homicide, and the judge said state law forced him to impose the sentence due to the minimum sentencing laws.

The governor, Jared Polis, has the constitutional power to grant pardons, clemency and commutations. He used his power in his case, and reduced Aguilera-Mederos’s sentence, along with two other commutations, fifteen individual pardons, and an executive order granting 1,351 pardons for those convicted of possessing two ounces or less of marijuana.

In Aguilera-Mederos’ commutation letter, Governor Polis said he granted the commutation because the sentencing was disproportionate for a “tragic but unintentional act.”

“The length of your 110-year sentence is simply not commensurate with your actions, nor with penalties handed down to others for similar crimes,” Polis wrote. “There is an urgency to remedy this unjust sentence and restore confidence in the uniformity and fairness of our criminal justice system, and consequently I have chosen to commute your sentence now,” he said.

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The deadly crash happened in April 2019 when the lorry careered downhill into stationary traffic, bursting into flames.

Four people – Stanley Politano, 69, William Bailey, 67, Doyle Harrison, 61, and Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24 – were killed.

Aguilera-Mederos, a Cuban immigrant, told officials that his brakes had failed, and that he had tried his best to avoid other vehicles as he lost control of the truck. Local police said no alcohol or drugs were involved in the crash, according to CBS Denver.

Nonetheless, prosecutors argued that the trucker missed a runaway truck ramp that could have prevented the crash.

During sentencing, Aguilera-Mederos said that he regretted the crash and that he wished he had died instead of the other victims.  “My life is not a happy life,” Aguilera-Mederos told CBS Denver. “It is a very sad life because four people died.”

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