EP. 68 110 YEARS FOR A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
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Welcome to Is This Legal? Here are your hosts, attorneys Colin McCallin and Russell Hebets.
In April of 2019 Rogel Aguilera Mederos was driving a semi truck through the Colorado mountains. He was an inexperienced driver, new to mountain driving. He made it over the pass and was headed down into Denver on the way down. His brakes failed. He missed a runaway truck ramp and drove on the shoulder, hoping the grade would level out and slow him down. He did that until another 18 Wheeler was parked on the shoulder in front of him. He had lost all control at that point and ended up crashing into stopped traffic on interstate 70 outside of Denver, the crash caused a 28 car pile-up killing four and injuring many others. My name's Russell Hebets and I'm here with my partner, Colin McCallin for this week's episode of is this legal hello? And we are gonna be talking about this case because it's certainly a tragic case for people lost their lives.
But the reason that we're gonna be talking about this case is because of the sentence that, uh, was just handed down to Mr. Aguilera Mederos he was just sentenced Russ to 110 years of prison for this act. Uh, that is a sentence that we find, um, grossly, uh, disproportionate in terms of actually what happened in this case. And it's created a lot of uproar in Colorado. And so today we're gonna, we're gonna look at this case. We're gonna talk about sentencing in general. We're also gonna be talking about the role of the prosecutor because, uh, uh, the, both the elected da, as well as the two DAS who tried this case are also in the news lot of, uh, for some of the aftermath, uh, that went on with this case, a lot of drama around this case and, and that 110 year sentence, essentially Colin is a life sentence for a crime that had no criminal intent whatsoever.
Absolutely. And so, uh, that's what we're gonna be getting into today. Um, so, uh, Russ, in terms of, uh, I, I mean, let's revisit the facts a little bit more. This, uh, this happened, um, you know, it was, it was a tragic case. It happened during the winter, uh, where a trucker is essentially going down kind of a steep section of I 70, he loses control of his car is his truck, um, cannot stop the truck. This is a runaway truck, impossible to stop the truck, right? This was not him not hitting the brakes, not using an emergency brake, the trucks on the section, he's hauling a trailer that I don't know how many tons it weighs, but the truck, the trailer brakes failed. Mm-hmm <affirmative> what, what, what, this is not, this is not a situation where Rogel ARA Mederos was intoxicated. Um, this is not a situation where he was driving recklessly.
Like there's no allegation that he was traveling 120 miles per hour, um, or, or driving in any other way, recklessly other than the fact that he lost control of his, uh, truck. Yeah. So here's, here's what the da has that kinda led them to these charges. There are some bad facts for, um, Mr. Aguilera, Mederos he, he was seen some witnesses said he was driving too fast earlier. Okay. He did miss a runaway truck ramp after his car, or I keep saying car after his truck was, um, already outta control. Yes, exactly. So that for anyone who doesn't know, who's maybe lives out in the plane somewhere, runaway truck ramps are these just giant ramps that are designed specifically for this situation. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and you have a truck whose brakes fail, cuz this is not uncommon. Right? Right. Um, so that the truck can hit this ramp and that ramp is at such an angle that the momentum has stopped and the ramps are actually just like deep sand.
Right. And actually I have a funny story about this. A, uh <laugh> so a friend of a friend, well, one of my, one of my friends from law school, his, his buddy from high school was driving through the mountains and decided that that a runaway truck ramp looked like a lot of fun. Oh my God. <laugh> so in his passenger car, he hits this runaway truck ramp ramp, picturing himself, driving up it at, you know, 65 miles an hour instead, which is what they're decided to do. He just buried the front nose of the car. Didn't go up the ramp at all. Didn't go up at all, right. No, this is designed for like, I don't know, like thousands of tons. Right. But anyway, he misses the runaway truck ramp and he instead he ends up staying on I 70. And despite his efforts, he ends up coring into several vehicles.
This was a horrible, horrible accident. And obviously four people died. And so, um, this is a high profile case for us because, um, a lot this made the media when four people die in this type of accident, uh, people are gonna talk about it. And, um, one might argue that that puts some pressure on the prosecutor, uh, in this case to, uh, in, in regard to the charging decision. Um, because let's look at that Russ. I mean, there, there are certain ways there are certain crimes that absolutely fit this type of conduct. Uh, I mean, first of all, there's careless, striving causing death. That's essentially where a person's driving carelessly and they cause the death of, of another person. Um, in this particular case, uh, prosecutors charged a vehicular homicide as well as vehicular assault. What they were alleging there is that, uh, Mr. Aguilera Mederos was driving recklessly.
And while driving recklessly caused the death of these four people, but they have to prove, uh, with regard to a reckless standard that he was, uh, acting in a willful or want, and matter with regard to the safety of other of other motors, basically this was an accident waiting to happen, you know? Right. He, he, he willfully or wantingly disregarded a risk of death or serious bodily injury happening now, careless driving that's that's punishable by up to a year in the county jail. Okay. Maybe not, not the most appropriate charge here. Vehicular homicide though. Russ, that's a charge that carries with it two to six years for each victim. Um, so this is, this, this could definitely have been a prison case, no matter what, but vehicular homicide Russ is not a mandatory sentencing offense. What that means is that this man, if he, if he was convicted of vehicular homicide, he could have gotten probation.
Okay. He, he didn't have to go to prison. Right. It would've been up to a judge, a judge would've had discretion, a judge could've sentenced him to as much as 24 years, because six years on each count for four deceased victims run consecutively gets you up to a maximum of 24 years. That's right. And, uh, and the, the district attorney, uh, the district attorney who handled this case, uh, they, they weren't happy with that Russ. They didn't feel like that was enough. Right. So what did they do? So the first district attorney, when this happened, this happened, as I said, back in 2019 at the time gentleman by the name of Bob Weir was the elected district attorney in the first judicial district that is essentially Jefferson county coming down out of the foothills into Denver, Peter Weir, right? Oh, I'm sorry. Peter Weir. Bob Bob Weir is, uh, with a grateful dead <laugh> so, so yep.
Peter Weir, not Bob Weir. <laugh> thank you for that. Correction. Bob Weir still on tour, man. I, I, I don't know if he was doubling up as a da, but go ahead. All right. So Peter Weir, sorry about that. Um, so he's the one who actually made the initial or his office. Dunno if it was him per pur, uh, personally, but they made the, the decision to charge, not just vehicular homicide, but also to charge first degree assaults right now, first degree assault is very different from vehicular homicide in a couple of significant ways. The most significant colon is that first degree assault is under the terms that it was well really under, under however you charge first degree assault. It is what's called a crime of violence. What that does is that triggers mandatory sentencing. That's correct. And, and essentially what they're doing here is they were using a charge that's not directly related to this.
They're taking the charge of assault, and we're gonna say, okay, we're gonna say that, uh, that this guy was basically acting recklessly. And in the course of doing that, he assaulted these other, uh, drivers, uh, and by killing them, this then becomes a crime of violence, Russ 10 to 32 years for each count. Uh, that's a mandatory sentence. This guy will be sentenced to prison for a minimum of 10 years, maximum 32 for each victim, uh, for each count of, uh, first degree assaults. So that absolutely adds tremendous teeth to the charges that this man was facing. And after trial, the jury came back guilty on four counts of vehicular homicide for the four people who were killed guilty on six counts of first degree assault and guilty on 10 counts of attempted first degree assault, right? So the jury ends up convicting him of some of these mandatory sentencing offenses, which by the way, include attempted first degree assault.
So there, there are mandatory minimums all over the place where this guy was, there was no choice, uh, but for the judge to send him to away for many, many, many years in prison. Now, Russ, here's a question for you. I'm assuming the jury in reaching these verdicts knew, uh, the import of their actions. In other words, they, they must have known that this man would be sentenced to such a significant term by their verdicts. Right? Well, you know what happens when you assume Colin <laugh> and in this case as with any other criminal case, the jury does not have a role in punishment, right? Which means they have no idea that they have just handed down verdicts that are gonna send this guy to prison for 110 years. Exactly. They have no idea. Yeah. Now they did. They did agree with the prosecution's theory that this was reckless conduct, right on behalf of Mr.
Aguilera Mederos in other words, they went beyond mere careless and said, this was, this was reckless, which allows them to find him guilty of these added counts. But I would venture a guest to say that many of these jurors, if not, all of them would have absolutely GHA at the notion that their verdicts ended up resulting in a hundred, 10 year sentence. So we said, you know, Peter Weir was the one who originally instituted these charges. Alexis King is the da who took over, was elected after Peter Weir. Right. She was elected in 2020. Right. And so she kinda, she got handed this, but she could have, when she got elected Colin, she could have changed the charges. Right. Well, this is interesting. Okay. So look, what, what here's, what's going on right now? Right now, there is a petition circulating around that has almost 5 million signatures, uh, from, from people of all over the country, asking that the sentence in this case be reduced, there's tremendous blowback, uh, that the district attorney Alexis King, that she is feeling right now, and she has made statements, uh, to the media like, well, this was my predecessor's case.
You know, this was a, this was a charging decision, right. That my predecessor handled. And, you know, I, I have an issue with that Russ she's the elected da. Yeah. Obviously the crime occurred before she was elected, but she's overseeing the prosecution. The idea that she's saying, oh, well, this decision was made by my, my, uh, predecessor. I can't intervene with this. I can't change anything. She is backpedaling as hard as she possibly can right now, because of, of, of the attention that this case has, uh, garnered. Yeah. And it's, and it's complete BS. It is right. She could have, she could have made a plea offer at any time. She could have reduced the charges at any time who controls the, the charging decision. Russ prosecutors have cart blanche decisions as to what charges are filed. A cop can come in and say, here's what I arrested him for.
Here's what I want to charge him for a da looks at it and says, I don't think that's appropriate. I'm gonna change it. And that happens all the time. Right? It is. That is the prosecutor's role. So for her to say first, to try to avoid what responsibility and say, oh, this was Peter Weir. She could have changed it at any point. Right. And the fact is she went forward with these charges, knowing full well that they carried these mandatory right now, you know, this is not unusual. Um, I mean, I, Russ and I were both DAS. We were talking about this the other day. I mean, um, if, if, uh, if you're, if you're a da and you're handling a case and you, you can make a plea offer to a defendant, you could say here, I'm willing to offer you this deal in exchange for you taking it and not wasting my time at a trial.
Um, you know, oftentimes the defendant will say, no, I don't want to take that deal. It's not good enough. Or I don't think it's appropriate. And what often happens in that situation is the case will get set for trial. And then the da will add more charges us, right? The da will, uh, will charge anything else that they can. And there's two reasons that they do that. At least there's a couple that come to my mind, you know, first of all, um, you're, you're kind of telling the defendant, all right. If you're, if you're gonna plead not guilty, when, when, when we believe that you're guilty of this crime, we're gonna charge you with everything we can, we're gonna hold you accountable, um, and make sure that you don't escape responsibility, but also Russ, uh, there's there, it is a little bit more subtle, a little bit more strategic by adding charges.
You gain leverage over the defendant. Right, right. You're saying, okay, um, you're not taking my plea deal. I'm gonna go ahead and add these mandatory charges. I'm gonna force you into a deal. Right. Okay. All of a sudden, a plea to what you, the da originally proffered seems a lot more compelling once you're facing an extra five charges that you weren't facing before. Right. And, and think about this, uh, from, from the defendant's perspective, I, we don't know what the plea deal was that was offered in this case, but let, let here's an example. I mean, we just talked about how one of these, one of these counts, uh, for first degree, uh, assault resulting in death, it can, it, it can land 10 to 32 years in jail. If you're a defendant and the prosecutor saying here, I'm offering you six years in prison, right.
You go to prison for six years. Uh, that will make sure that's, that's the, the maximum amount you spend in prison, comparing that to the possibility of 10 to 32, right. That has tremendous weight with it that will put pressure on any defendant, even for a crime. They didn't commit to say, my gosh, do I want to get outta here in six years or two decades? And, and for anyone out there who has ever had the conversation or wondered, why would someone possibly plead guilty to something that they didn't do? Well, this is why exactly this is why if you're looking, if you know that you can get a six year sentence where maybe you're gonna be out in, you know, three, four years and see your family and be out in time to see your kids graduate from high school. Whereas the alternative is a minimum 10, a maximum of 32, where this could be all of your productive adult life.
Well, you know, if that's the, the calculus, it sure seems like, you know, it makes a lot of sense yeah. To just take your medicine. Absolutely. And, and lawyers, uh, defense lawyers are in a difficult position for this because I mean, this man said, I didn't do this. I, I, I didn't do what they're, they're charting with. I'm, I'm innocent. But you know, if you're a defense attorney in this situation and you're staring down the barrel of 10 to 32 years, knowing that your client could get like six years and be done, guilt or innocence almost flies out the window in some senses, because you're like, okay, what, what, what is our risk reward? What, what gets, what gets the client through the, the process as expeditiously, as quickly as possible, even, even if it results in the person taking a plea deal is something that they didn't actually do.
Right. Right. And so here's, here's my problem. Like generally when I was a da, I would routinely do what you said, Colin case got set for trial, or even, maybe even earlier, but at some point I'm looking through, and if let's say I have a third degree assault case, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I'm looking at it. I'm saying, well, you know what, um, harassment fits, you know, right. Harassment is, uh, is, uh, lesser included. And I think that harassment or lesser not included, I think harassment fits, I think, disturbing the peace fits. So I would add, I myself would add those charges, right? Because they fit the, the issue I have with this case is they are, in my opinion, just shoehorning his conduct, Aguilera Madera's conduct into a statute that was not intended for his conduct. Right. The statute that was directly intended for his conduct was vehicular homicide, homicide.
Right. Exactly. Like it is directly on point. It's exactly what he did. And it is exactly what the legislature said. Here's what the punishment should be. The assault. It never envisioned using that statute in this kind of way with a vehicular homicide type case. Well, you know, Russ, it's, it's an interesting point. Um, I, I have seen this before. Um, and, but here here's the stark example. I mean, I actually handled a case in Jefferson county several years ago. Um, it was a vehicular homicide case and the prosecutor in that case, same judicial district did exactly what they did in the case that we're talking about. They added first degree assault. Here's the, here's the difference though? Russ, that was a drunk driving case. The client, uh, that I represented was intoxicated. He was driving recklessly. It speeds of a, like a hundred miles an hour down like a 45 mile per, uh, street.
There was clearly an element of recklessness. He ended up killing a person. And, uh, in, in my opinion, uh, rightfully faced a very substantial jail sentence just because his actions were so egregious. We don't have those aggravators here though. Yeah. You know, we, we really, at the end of the day, this was an accident. This was a tragedy. Right. Um, but Russ, I think it's worth talking before we take our break. I mean, isn't it worth mentioning four lives lost Russ. I mean, 1, 2, 3, 4, this was, this was a multiple homicide case. Um, doesn't that weigh in? I mean, what's the value of human life, Russ. Absolutely. It's, it's, it's, there might be some people out there who are saying, well, I don't see the problem with this. You know what, I, you know what I mean? There, there probably are. And, and I, I mean, my heart goes out to these victims because people lost their husbands.
People lost their brothers, people, people lost their family. And it's, it's tough to be in that position where you had someone taken away from you for this senseless accident. Right. So, so that absolutely goes into the calculus. My, my issue with that is the disproportionate nature of this sentence. Right? For, for no criminal intent, right? You, it, you, you, you, we're supposed to punish the conduct. Russ. We're not supposed to punish the result. And, and I'm not saying that the result was anything but tragic, it's horrible. But at the same time, we don't have a guy here whose intention was to kill as many as PE people as possible in this like mass homicide event. This was just a horrible tragedy. But, uh, if we're, if we're gonna add some, uh, if we're gonna add some fuel to the fire us, I think maybe it's time that we, uh, take a look at what the prosecutors have done in this case immediately after the verdict, cuz there's some spicy stuff here. I mean, stick around after our break, we're gonna take a break to play. Is this legal? But when we come back, there is some huge drama involving not just the elected da Alexis King, who will go into more. But the trial deputies who tried this case, it is frankly unbelievable what they did. Yeah. But you'll have to stick around to find out we'll be back after we plays this legal.
Our next guest is one of our longest, most faithful listeners ever. He was listening to this podcast back when Russ and I were talking into a couple of tin cans, tied together with string. He lives in the Kansas city area with his wife and two daughters. He works at north point development and is the director of investments. Before that he was head librarian and bookkeeper at the Shahan state penitentiary, a position he held until taking a rather long sabbatical in Zihuatanejo Mexico. Uh, please welcome to the podcast. Andy DRA, how you doing Andy?
Welcome Andy. It's good to have you. Yeah, Andy and I are big fans of the movie. Uh Shahan redemption. And uh, that was his nickname in college. So good. Andy and frame back with us, Andy and Colin go way back listeners. So Andy, in addition to being our longest and most loyal listener, he also predates me for being friends or knowing Colin McCallin. Yep. Not too many people can claim those two things. So, um,
In addition to being one of your, uh, most loyal and longest time listeners, I have also recruited at least one other person. Yes. All right. I'm doing my share. I mean that
Kinda, that kind of advertising case for itself. So everyone out there, everyone out there recruit, I mean, you could, you could go above that, that bar, that Andy set <laugh>. But if everyone out there recruits one is the number one or more people then, I mean, we're, we're blowing up.
You guys will have 20 listeners by the end of the week.
<laugh> I mean, now, now, now we're talking, those are big, big time numbers. So Andy, um, you know how this works before we, uh, make you a contestant here, you got any funny legal stories you'd like to share with us.
Well, I have some legal stories and I could share at least stories about, you know, me at various friends from college who will go nameless committing crime. But, uh, I probably shouldn't bring those up. I don't wanna tarnish anyone's reputation on the podcast podcast.
Yeah. Yeah. We definitely, we definitely don't want anyone's reputation to be tarnished and maybe it's just best if some of those stories remained, uh, buried underground. Right. I think we can all go. I'll agree with that. And just, just for the record, everyone out there, I did not go to college with Andy <laugh> so just saying <laugh>
Yeah. The statue of limitations may have passed, but uh, there's still other consequences that they could come to me and my friends. So just, just the pure reputational.
I, I really feel bad for whoever that friend is. Geez. I dunno who you're running around with, but man, crazy stuff. I love it. I love it. Andy, are you, are you prepared and ready for this week's episode of, is this legal?
Oh, you know, I'm ready and before I get into it, I'm I'm gonna say definitely 100% team JDI.
<laugh> awesome. We're we're developing a theme with our listeners. Jebediah is becoming pretty Cornelius. Yeah. Cornelius does not get nearly the love it's Jebediah. I love it. All right. Okay. With that being said, let's, let's see if your actual guests, uh, corresponds with that prediction. Andy, here is the scenario. Cornelius is in a bad way. Someone keeps stealing his Amazon packages from his front porch. Cornelius calls the police, but they can't do anything because there's no evidence to identify a suspect. Now, Cornelius suspects, his nemesis Jebediah. But so far he has not been able to catch him in the act. Meanwhile, Jebediah goes over to his friend Myrtle's house and after a couple of shots of moon shine, he laughs and tells Myrtle that he's the one who's been stealing Cornelius's package packages. Just for the fun of watching Cornelius's head spin around. When he walks out on his porch, Myrtle takes this information and goes and tells Cornelius about this the next day. And Cornelius calls, the police Jebediah is arrested, but he pleads not guilty. And the case goes to trial at trial, the prosecutor calls Myrtle to the stand and says, what did Jebediah tell you about taking Cornelius's packages? Jebediah's lawyer objects on the grounds that anything JDI said out of court is in admissible, hearsay and cannot be allowed in the trial. Andy, should the judge allow this question to be asked?
I mean, first of all, clearly this is a hypothetical situation. Cause Jeff, I would never take anyone's packages. True,
Yeah. But with, with respect to the specific question asked, uh, I believe that the, that whenever Jim and I had told Myrtle in Myrtle's home should be admissible as evident.
And why Andy?
Why? Uh, I don't really know. I'm not a lawyer. That's
Well, uh, guess what? It doesn't matter cuz you're absolutely right. Yes. Andy you're
Correct. Of course. I'm right.
I mean, I mean, Andy you've, you've obviously heard like most people have the Miranda advisement where they say anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. This is an exception to the normal hearsay rule because it is an admission by a defendant. Anything, someone who is charged with a crime says with very few exceptions is admissible to prove their guilt. Andy, are you ready for our part tour our follow up?
Oh absolutely. I was hoping I was gonna get a follow up.
Oh, here it comes, man. Uh, here comes a curve ball coming right at you. Uh, we're gonna change one fact instead of JDI telling a Myrtle about what he did. Um, Myrtle becomes aware of this information because her son, Joseph fat tells her, Hey, guess what? I saw JDI steal a package off of Cornel porch. So question when, when we go to trial, would that change? In fact, can Myrtle testify about what her son told her that he saw?
I'm gonna say no on that.
Okay. Any particular reason why?
Well, I'm gonna say that if they wanna call the host of Patton stand <laugh>, but fat to the stand, they can't have Myrtle, uh, testify as to what somebody else saw.
Did you throw a jump and Josephat in there? Is that what it was? It was Josephat instead of Josephat. Yes. But Andy, you are correct two for two man. Again, you do the listeners. See what can happen if you listen, if you're a regular listener to, is this legal, I mean, you become sharp as attack. You're just ready for these questions, right?
Yeah. I mean,
Where's your law degree. I think you just get a law degree by listening after 50 episodes. I, I think Andy can pass the bar at this point. <laugh>
That's right when I said earlier, I wasn't attorney. I mean maybe I should just become one that's all, all I did was listen to this podcast for 80 hours or whatever it's been.
And Andy, you're probably a common law attorney at this point. <laugh> We can get you a t-shirt that says, you know, I listened to this podcast and I got my law degree, something like that. I don't know. I'm not lawyer you're marketing, but I listened. Is this legal <laugh> well, it's all good.
The better thing, the better thing is the $10,000 prize from getting the answer. Right. I mean that, that a reward of itself
We'll mail that right up. Andy rat RO took care of that last week. So our, our prize coffer is empty right now. Andy <laugh> yeah. Read, read, read the fine print, Andy. But uh, in closing, sir, um, is there anything that you would like to plug to our listeners? Anything that you think our li uh, listeners should be aware of?
I have, I have nothing that I would like to plug. I would like, uh, you know, everyone to stay off Twitter. Uh, you know, I don't know that. That's all I got.
All right, Andy, you're up to here with the Twitter. So am I, man, I get it. <laugh> well, uh, Andy, thank you so much for joining us. Uh, you've been an amazing guest and uh, you have a very, very happy holiday season. Okay.
All right. You guys too. Thank you.
Thanks Andy. Welcome back everyone. So as promised, we are gonna talk about what went down after the trial with the deputy district attorneys who tried this case and it, it is, it's gonna blow your mind. I'm telling you right now, Colin, what happened? So yeah, there's, there's, there's, there's more to this story. You can read all about it cuz it's made national news, but after the sentence came down after this man got sentenced to 110 years, just this egregious sentence. Um, one of the prosecutors whose name is Kayla Willman, uh, she posted on Facebook and uh, she posts a picture of a trophy that, uh, was given to her by her trial partner, Trevor Maki that he created from the break shoe. Uh, we're not clear if it's from the semi in this case or just from a break shoe from another semi truck, but he made her a trophy commemorating this trial win.
It was from this accident from this accident. And uh, this is what the post said, uh, after there's, you know, there's a picture of this trophy that she posts. And then this is what the text says. Get yourself a trial partner as great as Trevor Moki. He turned a break shoe from a semi truck into a memento. What a special gift from a truly special person I've never asked for a new BFF at work. Let alone one that is old enough to be my father. No offense ha but I'm sure, I sure am grateful. This trial brought you into my career as both a colleague and a friend, world words will never convey how lucky I am to have gotten the opportunity to learn from you. So she makes this post on Facebook, publicly to her own Facebook profile. This thing goes viral. Uh, people can't believe this.
I mean, this is the outrage that this has caused that, that these prosecutors are celebrating such an egregious sentence in this case, is it it's first of all, this doesn't happen. It's unprofessional. It's unethical. Uh, it, it, it, and it makes this DA's office look like this was all one big game. You are, they are celebrating a 110 year sentence for a man who got into an accident right now. Granted people died and I'm I'm, I'm truly, I'm not trying to belittle that. We're also not trying to say this guy should have never been charged to be clear Russ. And I are saying what this man did. It was, it was wrong. He, he did break the law. He should be sentenced. We're not even saying that, that, that he shouldn't go to jail. I mean, he, he took four lives, right? 110 years though.
You gotta be kidding me. I mean that, that's more than some mass murderers get and just the lack of empathy and the, and the yeah. Keep here's a, here's a fact for us, a couple of the, the, the family members of victims of this case actually asked the district attorney to not pursue this sentence. They, they didn't want this man to go away for the rest of his life. They were, they were asking for compassion. And this is the attitude that were seeing these trial deputies events. So, so, so that's, that's the trial deputies, which, which is just, I mean, it just really sits so sour in my belly. Yeah. Um, but let's, let's talk about the, the top dog, Alexis King, Alexis King, right? Because Alexis King, as we said before, she's the one who authorized the continuation of these charges. So right after the sentence came out and there was an uproar immediately, right.
Immediately people said, why is this guy getting 110 years? In fact, the trial judge, right himself, the, the sentencing judge, the sentencing judge who sat through the whole trial and sentenced said, if I had the ability, I would not be giving this 110 year sentence. This is excessive. And I, but he is like, I have no choice. And, and he's right. His hands are tied. Yeah. Right. And so hundred, 110 years is the minimum. That's the minimum sentence that this man could have received based on the charges he was convicted of. Right. So Alexis King, after this came out, said, well, you know, I would welcome a reconsideration, a sentencing reconsideration, a sentencing reconsideration. Yeah. You know, you know what Alexis, here's why that's hollow. You can't REI. He's already imposed the lowest sentence. There is. Um, and so, and, and why, where was the da before this?
Where was the da saying maybe we shouldn't be throwing the book at this guy. Right. Maybe we should just try him on the conduct that he actually engaged in, rather than trying to bootstrap all of these much, much more serious charges on this guy. Right. And so there's already a problem with culture. Right, right. There, there is. It's a, it's a huge problem with culture now. I mean, going back to it, there is an opportunity for reconsideration, but it's, it's basically how it works is within 91 days of Mr. Uh, Aguilera Mederos being sentenced to department of corrections, department of corrections has to issue a report. And it's basically, um, a diagnostic report and evaluation of him. And really what it is, is a, is a risk level. Like, is he a threat of violence is how is he as an inmate? And then they can come back.
And after he serves 119 days, so basically on day one 20, they can ask for a reconsideration of the sentence. So that's built into the statutes in Colorado, but that is all discretionary, right. That there's no guarantees on anything there. So for Lexus king to come back after the sentences imposed and say, oh, no, I'd be happy to have a reconsideration. You know what, you know, I, we, he, he, would've been happy if you hadn't charged the minimum mandatory that made him get 110 years. Right. Exactly. And, and so let's, let's talk about winning and losing as a prosecutor for a second Russ. Okay. Cuz both you and I were prosecutors. Um, we both work in, worked in big, uh, district attorney's offices with multiple lawyers, multiple staff, you know, and, um, look, I mean, we're, we're, we're not necessarily saying that, um, a prosecutor should not feel happy or enthused about a guilty verdict.
Right. Okay. I mean, when, when I worked at the DA's office, um, people, you know, your, your colleagues would go to trial and you know you, but I do remember a lesson. You, you, you, you would want them to have a good result in trial. But I remember one, uh, da told me very early in my career, he said, you know, when your prosecutor don't ask your fellow colleague, after they've just completed trial, don't say, Hey, did you win or lose what you ask? You say, Hey, what was your verdict? Did you get a good verdict? Did you get a fair verdict? There's a difference there. Okay. Because prosecutors, it should not be Russ about winning or losing. It should not. It should not. I mean, the, the reason I think we're so upset about this trophy and frankly, why a lot of people are upset about this is, is, is, is this is, this is a prosecutor, basically celebrating a win.
This is a, and, and, and there are no winners in this case. Right. Okay. Um, to suggest that this is a win for the four, uh, for the loss of the four lives, uh, that were taken from this act from this tragedy. No, I don't think they view it that way. It shouldn't be viewed that way. Is it a win to send this man, uh, who wasn't driving recklessly or drunk? Is it a win to send this man to a prison for 110 years? Absolutely not. So, you know, there, there is a fine line. Russ, if you win a trial as a prosecutor, it's not something that you're supposed to boast about. It's not something you're supposed to gallivant around saying, look, I'm the best attorney in the world. It, it it's, you're supposed to do justice as a prosecutor. And what was done here was an injustice.
Right. And, and that, that kind of doing justice is exactly where it comes. And we're not saying that, you know, you should be robots. You know, obviously if someone wins and it's a good trial and it's a just result, great, you know, congratulate them, celebrate the victory. This, this really feels at a gut level. Like you, you're celebrating, sending a guy. We, Hey, we wanted to see if we could get the jury to fight off on this. And we got him too. Right. You know, we, we, we got our pound of sand and then more right. And it just does not feel like justice. Yeah. You know, I mean, back in, in the DA's office, when, when I worked in, in the DA's office, like passwords within the office were justice. Yeah. You know, like that was, that was the password to log on to the internal system, you know?
But this feels like the password wouldn't be justice. The password would be, let's really stick it to him. Yeah. You've heard the expression throwing the book at someone, this guy got the book thrown at him and it didn't have to happen that way. So, and again, this is, it's not, again, it's not like this is a convicted murder where it's like, all right, we've, we've, we've, we've gotten this guy off the streets. This guy's never gonna hurt anybody. Again, it's an accident Russ. And I keep saying it, but it keep bears repeating. It was an accident. Colin, is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
We don't know. Um, I mean, here's where things, there, there there's a possibility of a light. Yeah. So, so I mean, there's a lot out there on this case, if you want to do some further reading. And, uh, lately the Denver post editorial board just, uh, put out a editorial asking governor POIs, right. To step in and commute, this man's sentence, right? The district attorney, Alexis King, who we've been talking about, she just filed a motion, asking the court to reconsider this sentence. And of course that, uh, appears to have been filed right after the, uh, media splash happened with regard to this trophy. Right. Uh, she's trying to save as much face as she can. That's exactly what she's doing. But, so there are a couple things in the works. Like there, there is a chance that this case gets reconsidered and after, um, Mr. Aguilar Mederos serves 120 days, maybe it gets reconsidered so that he doesn't spend the rest of his living life, uh, as opposed to his deceased life. He's 23 years old, by the way, this is young man, young, young guy. But so there is a chance for the reconsideration. There are, like you alluded to earlier, there are close to 5 million signatures at a petition to gen uh, governor POIs, so he can intervene. So there are a couple of avenues that can lead to a lesser sentence here. And, and from our perspective, I really, we really, really hope that it does lead to a lower sentence. And honestly, I hope that a case like this actually highlights the problems with mandatory sentences in general. I mean, Russ, we can do a whole podcast on this. We've touched on it several times. Um, but you know, mandatory sentences are really tricky business.
Okay. We see mandatory sentences in a lot of different reasons. We've heard about, uh, how mandatory sentences were handed down in the, uh, late seventies and eighties, um, at, at the federal level to really go after drug offenders. And we know that it had the, uh, the import of penalizing African American population, much, much more discriminately than, uh, white people. Right. And, and then that's why we're actually trying to eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing, uh, sentencing. This is another example, Russ. Yes. Of how a mandatory minimum sentencing has stripped a judge of all discretion. A judge is literally, like you said, uh, handcuffed in what he's able to do in this case, because he has to follow, uh, what the sentence is for these crime. And I'm just gonna say it, this, these, these mandatory, uh, sentencing offenses should have never been charged in this particular case, right?
This should only be used for the most egregious of offenders where society is comfortable sending a person, uh, to a prison term of length, not in this particular case, right? Exactly. This, this, this sentence does nothing to protect society in the future. Right. This isn't a guy who's gonna go out there and, you know, commit this crime again, went out. Right, right. He's you're not deterring anything in the future. Right. Um, Incaa, that's another sentencing consideration. Is this person dangerous? Do we need to make sure this person is confined? So they don't do it again? This isn't some, this isn't conduct, as you just said, that can be repeated. Right, right. Re rehabilitation. That's another goal of sentencing, right? Like what are you rehabilitating him from? I mean, like maybe, you know, be a better truck driver maybe were, maybe we should be talking about the company that he worked for.
Right. And who didn't train him well enough or who didn't maintain the truck well enough, but those guys aren't going to jail, but Russ, this is strictly, this is a sentence to me that's strictly based on punishment. Like, yeah. It's just, we're, we're, we're gonna pound you because we can. Right. And Russ, it is not right. You know, we do have an update in this case. Um, I think that the elected da Alexis King is feeling the heat and the public pressure going on here. She, uh, just last week, uh, asked for the judge to reconsider, uh, the sentencing in this case. <laugh> that's right. The da who brought these charges, who in the first place that landed this man in, uh, prison for a hundred, 10 years is now asking the judge actually let's let's can we, can we come up with something close to 20 to 30 years? Uh, a judge is gonna set a hearing to determine that in January, uh, things like clemency, uh, through the governor, commutation of the sentence by the governor, those things are all still in play as well. So we will continue to update as we get more information on this. All right. Well, we've we Colin and I are going to get off our soap boxes and we're going to bring what everyone has been waiting for, which is this week's edition of
D it's our best Christmas Carol voice for yeah. Merry Christmas, everyone. I think this drops after Christmas. So maybe happy new year, uh, whatever. That's happy holidays. That's just a little holiday love from the guys that happens in the calendar. <laugh> the dumb criminal love though week. What do we got? Russ, we have a winner. Or should I say a loser? <laugh> say a loser. There are no winners in DCT O D OT w except us, except us and our listeners. Right. But certainly a 26 year old Adam valley is not a winner. Adam valley was in the jurisdiction of the Gladstone police. This is a little town outside of Portland, Oregon. We're not in Florida today. We're not in Florida. I wow. We had some Texas contenders <laugh>, but, but the, the Oregon one took, took the cake this time. So, so here's what, um, Adam valley decided to do.
He decided that, you know, he was gonna make his, uh, career being, um, a bike thief. Okay. So he is gonna go around stealing bikes. And so he got his little checklist. He got his, uh, ski mask check mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, bolt cutters. Oh, great check. Um, and a bike that he could steal check. Great. I mean, everything seems fine so far until you realize that the bike that he chose was literally just outside of the front door of the Gladstone police station. Wow. I mean, I kid you not, there is a video and a still shot. It says Gladstone police directly above the bike, and you could see the front door directly to the right of the bike. He goes there in his ski mask with his bolt cutters. Tell me it was during the day it was during the day <laugh> with the within I, I kid you not within 23 seconds of him trying to steal this bike, a Gladstone police officers out there confronting him.
I'm kind of amazed. It took that long. I mean, he initially tries to like the halfheartedly flee, right. You know, here, I'm not trying to steal this bike, stop patrol. The cop has his taser and like pins him against the wall. Another cop comes and he is very quickly taken into custody. The, uh, the quote from Sergeant Carl Bell of the Gladstone police department is we saw him on the video screen and thought it would be a good thing to go talk to this guy. <laugh> by stepping out the front door by, by stepping out the front door. Oh man. I mean, it is, uh, was it a police bike or was it perhaps a, a bike belonging to a police officer? Or we don't know. It was not a police bike. So it was just on like a public rack outside, but in front of the Gladstone police department.
Exactly. So the cop said initially, you know, we thought maybe it's someone coming to collect their bike, but the, uh, the ski mask and the bolt cutters kind threw that off <laugh>. So, so he was charged with theft, criminal mischief and felony possession of a weapon, man. Um, and he had, uh, already been arrested just a couple months previously on similar charges. Oh, wow. Was he on probation? He was not on probation. I, I think it was so soon the other case hadn't settled yet. Okay. Right. So, all right. Wow. Uh, so our knucklehead rating. So for Adam, what do you think about Adam man? This is pretty stupid Russ. Um, I mean, I I've been handing out fives like candy. I feel like lately. Right. And I'm gonna hand out another five here. I mean, like, I, I think what, what absolutely makes it a five outta five is that he's wearing the ski mask and the bolt cutters.
He's got all that stuff in full daylight. Like, uh, we're we're, we're just not making any secret of what we're doing here. We're gonna just brazenly go up and try and steal right. From a police department and broad daylight dude. And to think that the police department doesn't have video surveillance. Yeah. What year do you think it is? Seen any police building? I mean, they've got like those mirrors, you can't see inside. There's probably like an armed dude, like regalia, just ready to blow anybody away. Who's gonna try and trespass or do anything in front of that police station. And anytime I get within about a quarter mile of any police station, I assume I'm on video all time. I mean, like, I'm not, I'm not doing anything <laugh> they probably don't have cameras here. Right. <laugh> all right. So, I mean, are you handing out a five as well?
I have to. I mean, again, like you, I feel like I feel like being more discriminating, but I mean, there's no way I can't five. I wanna give him a five. Yeah. <laugh> yeah. So Adam, sorry, you're a giant knucklehead and maybe change careers, buddy. You're not, you're not good at this. Well, um, folks, uh, that is gonna do it for us, uh, for this episode of, is this legal, we are going to provide you updates with regard to what happens with Rogel Aguilera Mederos. Uh, in fact, I think we're actually awaiting a few other, uh, jury verdicts on some, uh, podcasts that we've just recently done in the past couple weeks. So we'll provide y'all with some updates once we get them. But in the meantime, uh, this might be our last episode for the year. So we're gonna close out 2021 with this one. Uh, we wish you all, uh, very safe and Merry Christmas and happy new year, whatever holidays, holiday, whatever holiday you're celebrating. And we'll see you next year. Thanks.
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