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mandatory minimums

Colorado governor considering clemency application for truck driver sentenced to 110 years in prison

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) told reporters on Tuesday his office has received a clemency application for Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, a truck driver who was sentenced last week to 110 years in prison for causing a deadly crash on Interstate 70.

In April 2019, the brakes on Aguilera-Mederos' truck failed, and he slammed into stopped traffic, killing four people. A 26-year-old immigrant from Cuba, Aguilera-Mederos was convicted in October of 27 counts in connection with the accident, including reckless driving and attempt to commit assault in the first degree — extreme indifference. Before he was sentenced, Aguilera-Mederos said he accepted responsibility for the "heartbreaking" accident, and he "never thought about hurting anyone in my entire life."

Because of Colorado's mandatory minimum sentencing laws that apply to cases where a person is killed, Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced to 110 years in prison, with Judge Bruce Jones saying, "I will state that if I had the discretion, it would not be my sentence."

The backlash from the public was swift, with more than 4.5 million people signing a petition calling this an unjust punishment and demanding Polis do something about it. When asked about the matter on Tuesday, Polis said, "We just received the application yesterday evening from his attorney and my legal team is reviewing it right now. When we have a decision, we will announce it." Prosecutors have also filed a motion for the court to hold a hearing to reconsider the sentence, submitting a request on Tuesday for the matter to be expedited.