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Aguilera-Mederos sentencing brings mandatory minimum laws back into focus

DENVER (KDVR) – More than 3.4 million people signed a petition called on Rogel Aguilera-Mederos to receive clemency or shorten the sentence.

Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced to 110 years in prison earlier this week in a 2019 crash on Interstate 70 that left four people dead.

He said the accident was unintentional, but since people were killed after he crashed his large rig into them, it is considered a violent crime and carries a heavy penalty in Colorado.

“However, the defendant did not intend to kill anyone, not to harm anyone. Ian Farrell, an associate professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.

A Jefferson County judge sentenced Aguilera-Mederos to 110 years in prison on Monday. Due to Colorado law, accidental homicides force the judge to sentence the driver with a hefty sentence – essentially sentence him to death behind bars, experts say.

“There are these called sentence enhancers in Colorado,” says Farrell. “And so, if you commit a violent crime then these sentencing measures will apply. Violent crime is defined as any offense in which someone is killed or killed or severely injured on the body”.

Aguilera-Mederos was found guilty of more than 20 counts.

“If you commit a violent crime then the sentences for more than one crime will be served consecutively rather than simultaneously, all at once,” Farrell said.

Some working families’ rights advocates say the verdict is at the heart of an issue the state needs to address.

“In the end, the judge’s hands were completely tied up in the sentence,” said Wendy Howell, state director for the Colorado Labor Family Party. “And that’s not okay. We need to completely consider sentencing reform. We need to look at these terrible mandatory minimums that over-criminalize people and don’t give judges the decision-making power they need. “

Lawmakers here have so far failed to deliver sentences and mandate minimal reform but they are calling for change that is getting bigger and bigger every hour.

https://kdvr.com/news/local/aguilera-mederos-sentencing-puts-mandatory-minimum-laws-back-in-spotlight/ Aguilera-Mederos sentencing brings mandatory minimum laws back into focus

Emma Bowman

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