Tag Archives: colorado

Man Sentenced to 110 Years for for Crash that Killed 4 in Colorado

Obviously, 110 years for an accident is a lot of time- it’s life in prison, even where four people died, the crash was due to an accident. The driver’s brakes failed, but the prosecutor was able to convict him on 27 counts for the actions he took after the mechanical issues arose. At one point, it was argued that he should have slammed into another truck, essentially committing suicide, as opposed to attempting the evasive maneuvers that resulted in the crash. The judge ultimately suggested that he would not have sentenced Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, 23, so harshly if he had not been required to do so by law.

This article indicates the most serious charges were the four counts of vehicular manslaughter for the people who passed away, but due to the violent crimes mandatory sentencing strictures, Colorado required harsher sentences on the assault charges than the manslaughter charges. The judge’s hands were tied, and had to sentence the six assault charges to 10 years each, and mandated that they be sentenced consecutively. Further, the 10 attempted assault charges each carry a mandatory five-year sentence, also required to be served consecutively. Add those up, and the judge had no choice but to enter a 110-year sentence.

For the remaining charges, including the manslaughter charges, the judge entered a sentence of 30 years in prison, to be served non-consecutively. The judge gave a sever sentence for the deaths that the jury had found Mr. Aguilera-Merderos culpable for, but did not seek a sentence that would surely extend beyond his lifespan. One can clearly extrapolate that he did not feel such a sentence was appropriate, but was bound to make it based on the laws in Colorado and the way the prosecutor chose to bring the charges. The judge even suggested that he was bound by law to the sentence, and that none of the victims (and families) who gave testimony suggested that a sentence beyond life was appropriate. The mandatory minimums resulted in a sentence that was beyond what the judge felt was just, but took away the discretion of the court to apply reason.

We have decried the issues with mandatory minimum sentences here before, and the issue is prevalent in Florida, as well. This reminds me of the Marissa Alexander assault case that resulted in a disproportionate sentence a few years ago- and ultimately lead to changes in Florida law. As a general rule, mandatory minimum sentences may be well intentioned, but where there is no discretion, will ultimately be used to an unjust end.

Fortunately, Colorado does have a provision that would permit the court to revisit these sentences after 6 months. Indeed, the judge referenced that the sentences would be revisited, suggesting that he may be open to a showing that would permit them to be reduced. Based on everything stated, that appears to be a likely, and just, result.

I also want to add that Colorado’s assault statute includes reckless behavior (“manifesting extreme indeference to the value of human life”), which is unusual. The crime of assault historically required the intent to place fear/strike/or injure the victim. So, even though Mr. Aguilera-Mederos did not manifest any intent, he was convicted and is now subject to the ‘violent’ crime sentencing structure. That suggests that the sentene may be of a type more sever that intended by the legislature, but certainly applicable under Colorado’s definition of assault. (Usually, behavior so reckless to endanger life is criminally punishable, but not usually as assault. That’s the type of language for manslaughter or reckless driving in most jurisdictions.)

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos

Todd Helton Sentenced to Jail for DUI

Wanted to share this as a reminder to take Driving Under the Influence seriously. Colorado Rockies legend Todd Helton pled to a DUI and was sentenced to two days of incarceration, in addition to probation and classes and all of the other requirements of a DUI conviction. The article doesn’t say if he had any credit, he may have done those days the night he was arrested, but it just goes to show that even rich and famous don’t get a break on DUI.

It’s worth noting that even with the public health emergency, law enforcement is still on patrol, and will still arrest for DUI. Even if you don’t go to jail tonight… that doesn’t mean you aren’t facing jail time down the road. The cases are not getting dropped… just pushed down the road. Be safe, and don’t drink and drive!

College Kid Carjacks an Ambulance, Masturbates at Police Station

Stefan Sortland Mug Shot

Stefan Sortland Mug Shot

Drugs are bad, mmmm-kay. Colorado State student Stefan Sortland got a little out of control at a Halloween party: well, a lot out of control. He reportedly took some Molly and come cocaine, which caused a seizure. Paramedics were called, and Sortland came to after they arrived. He saw the empty ambulance, and jumped in to take it for a joyride. He jumped the median and back again, where cops found the vehicle with extensive damage. He was standing thirty feet away, wearing an EMT vest and carrying a box of wheat thins. He was unresponsive and officers tazed him.

He probably didn’t feel the tazer.  When they got him back to the station, he stood on a bench, kicked a wall, and masturbated. This case is the poster situation for why you shouldn’t do drugs. I hope this kid can get in a drug court-type program, so his life isn’t ruined from this escapade. he needs help. And I’ll take this opportunity to give a special caution about the drug known as ‘Molly’. While it was originally another name for MDMA (ecstasy, which is bad enough), it usually contains a dangerous cocktail of drugs: a user never knows what they are getting or how their body will react. Or if they will end up dead.

via: http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/bad-molly-takes-colorado-state-student-on-insane-mastu-1655993298