Colorado trucker in deadly pileup gets 110 years, gets emotional at sentencing

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Note also that the prosecutor did attempt to negotiate a plea deal, but the defendant would not accept any plea deal that involved anything more than a traffic ticket.

He took his chances on a jury trial, and is somehow surprised that the worst case scenario came true...
An example of being careful what you wish for with mandatory sentencing guidelines having unintended consequences.

I have been the one to tell people, this is why pleas are accepted when one has to virtually prove their innocence in an instance when guilt is presumed.

All that presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.. something like this, I think I'd have took the plea, if that was even an option.. especially when an assessment of the situation would suggest a conviction is likely.

Sometimes, the Judge will not even accept the plea..

Let us get a consensus here, are the majority of respondants to this thread stating the sentence was justified? Or, is there perhaps those that feel driver error was innocent enough with a tragic outcome. Let us see both sides, if they can be seen.
 

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I have been the one to tell people, this is why pleas are accepted when one has to virtually prove their innocence in an instance when guilt is presumed.

All that presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.. something like this, I think I'd have took the plea, if that was even an option.. especially when an assessment of the situation would suggest a conviction is likely.

Sometimes, the Judge will not even accept the plea..

Let us get a consensus here, are the majority of respondants to this thread stating the sentence was justified? Or, is there perhaps those that feel driver error was innocent enough with a tragic outcome. Let us see both sides, if they can be seen.
The issue is not necessarily if the sentence was justified. Colorado state statues directed the sentence.

The dialog here is disparate treatment. Although the dictionary term "disparate treatment" does not apply to this scenario, it is relevant. Would someone who intentionally committed heinous first degree murders in Colorado be subject to a lessor sentence. That is what I would like to better understand.

I have knowledge of a like case. Two high school seniors lit a dumpster on fire at the apartment complex where a Army recruiter lived, in Indiana, as part of a prank. Indiana state law states lighting a fire within xxx amount of feet of a residential building is aggravated arson. Those 18 year old high school students received the MINIMUM sentence- 10 years in the Indiana state penn for aggravated arson. Had the dumpster been 20 inches farter away, the charges would of been disturbing the peace.
 
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The issue is not necessarily if the sentence was justified. Colorado state statues directed the sentence.

The dialog here is disparate treatment. Although the dictionary term "disparate treatment" does not apply to this scenario, it is relevant. Would someone who intentionally committed heinous first degree murders in Colorado be subject to a lessor sentence. That is what I would like to better understand.

I have knowledge of a like case. Two high school seniors lit a dumpster on fire at the apartment complex where a Army recruiter lived, in Indiana, as part of a prank. Indiana state law states lighting a fire within xxx amount of feet of a residential building is aggravated arson. Those 18 year old high school students received the MINIMUM sentence- 10 years in the Indiana state penn for aggravated arson. Had the dumpster been 20 inches farter away, the charges would of been disturbing the peace.
In your example, it sounds like the time age 28 or perhaps 25 with good behavior rolled around, they would get a chance to re-start their life, irregardless of if they had a felony on their record or not.. in your example, are you saying that the 18 year olds intended to murder the Army recruiter in his sleep with the dumpster fire? Or.. are you saying they should have received a Disturbing The Peace, but law did not allow?

I do follow your point, I am just asking questions. What we do, a lot, is put the State above reproach and eliminate any possibility of error by the State, in that whatever it dictates is justified.. there are ome that feel they can take the law into their own hands, for either overcorrection or lack of action by the State, not sure how relevant that is.
 
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When you refer to "The State", who exactly are you referring to?

The judges hands are tied based on State Law. If convicted of the crimes, the judge is obligated to hold up the laws passed by the legislature.

The prosecutor in these situations has a huge amount of discretion in what to charge and for how many counts. They could have chosen to charge him with lesser counts or with fewer counts (since the consecutive vs concurrent issue is what drives the length of sentencing here). If you were a victim, would you be happy if the prosecutor chose not to pursue a charge for a crime committed to you to mitigate sentencing concerns? Would that seem fair as a victim?

Or is it the legislature, that wrote the law that is being applied?
 
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When you refer to "The State", who exactly are you referring to?

The judges hands are tied based on State Law. If convicted of the crimes, the judge is obligated to hold up the laws passed by the legislature.

The prosecutor in these situations has a huge amount of discretion in what to charge and for how many counts. They could have chosen to charge him with lesser counts or with fewer counts (since the consecutive vs concurrent issue is what drives the length of sentencing here). If you were a victim, would you be happy if the prosecutor chose not to pursue a charge for a crime committed to you to mitigate sentencing concerns? Would that seem fair as a victim?

Or is it the legislature, that wrote the law that is being applied?
The State would be the one of the 50 States in the Union that the proceedings take place in. The State is the ultimate issuer of the laws of that State. True, they are enacted by a legislature, which is supposed to have its representatives elected by the people.. Governor, etc.

In the hyperadversarial nature of the justice system, it would be part of the normal process to have charges reduced, dismissed, possibly upgraded, etc. The victim, I would assume, would have had their account provided to such prosecutor etc by the police.

If I were a victim, I am sure I would be a witness for the prosecution, if that is what you were saying, to help achieve conviction, if I understood what you said correctly. Deals are frequently reached, cases sometimes even dismissed, as supported by evidence. All of this happens within the State.

The Judicial branch holds the Legislative and Executive branches in check, yes.. so, in this case, perhaps the Colorado criminal and vehicle codes came into play in the courtroom. Still the State..
 

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In your example, it sounds like the time age 28 or perhaps 25 with good behavior rolled around, they would get a chance to re-start their life, irregardless of if they had a felony on their record or not.. in your example, are you saying that the 18 year olds intended to murder the Army recruiter in his sleep with the dumpster fire? Or.. are you saying they should have received a Disturbing The Peace, but law did not allow?

I do follow your point, I am just asking questions. What we do, a lot, is put the State above reproach and eliminate any possibility of error by the State, in that whatever it dictates is justified.. there are ome that feel they can take the law into their own hands, for either overcorrection or lack of action by the State, not sure how relevant that is.
If memory serves correctly, it was a prank, like lighting someone's garbage can on fire while it is in front on their home the night before garbage pickup. There was no intent to physically harm anyone. But intent did not matter. The dumpster was xxx feet from a residential building, state of Indiana defined that as aggravated arson. So two knucklehead high school students received the minimum, 10 years in the state penn.
 
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If memory serves correctly, it was a prank, like lighting someone's garbage can on fire while it is in front on their home the night before garbage pickup. There was no intent to physically harm anyone. But intent did not matter. The dumpster was xxx feet from a residential building, state of Indiana defined that as aggravated arson. So two knucklehead high school students received the minimum, 10 years in the state penn.
Hmmmmm. That, to me, brings up another good point, that we cannot know intent.

Do you feel the example you cited was flawed at all in execution, or could have been meted out better? I am aware they could have avoided it all by not lighting the fire so I am not trying to say they were somehow okay, that was a dangerous circumstance and yes, knuckleheads.
 

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Hmmmmm. That, to me, brings up another good point, that we cannot know intent.

Do you feel the example you cited was flawed at all in execution, or could have been meted out better? I am aware they could have avoided it all by not lighting the fire so I am not trying to say they were somehow okay, that was a dangerous circumstance and yes, knuckleheads.
I not knowledgeable enough on the subject/ case to answer.

But I will say this- if one is guilty, innocent, it does not matter. Always have an attorney speak for you. never speak for yourself.

A heard a judge once say to an attorney who was representing himself "he who represents himself is a fool".
 
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Mostly because he is poor and cannot afford a powerful attorney that can get even OJ Simpson off the hook. It is expensive to be poor and it is our legal system where nothing is equal. There are lots of these injustice everywhere (not that I think he deserves to not get anything at all, but 110 years is ridiculous compare to even war crime or hate crime getting less, for a big accident without DUI). I would give maybe up to 5 years max using my own standard.


No " justice" system since the dawn of man has ever, ever, ever, ever been ..... Totally fair and even or without "injustice"...

I agree that 110 yrs is way, way, way too much....

But... 5 yrs.... Nah.... That's ridiculously low the other way in my opinion...

Why I say that ??


A young lady in my home county was at the wheel of a SUV going 80 mph and wrecked... Killed 4 young guys in that vehicle with her.

4.... People dead because I'm of her crazy driving... She was not charged for a couple of years. Which surprised me a bit... Eventually charges were brought forward several years later.

In her case I think the Commonwealth attorney over charged her to a degree.

1 reason I say that is that those guys all knew she was a reckless and crazy driver...
2... I question whether or not those guys were wearing seatbelts... There's a reason why I am saying that.
3... Those guys had been drinking and she was albeit a terrible choice.... She was the designated driver...
4.... If she had hit another vehicle and killed 4 people who had NOT chosen voluntarily to get into a vehicle with her driving... Then I would have wanted the proverbial " book" thrown at her. In this circumstance... Because of the above mitigating circumstances... I believe she should not have been gone after extremely harshly.

Having said that... I believe she deserved 10-12 years behind bars.... No time suspended.

There's 4 dead young guys that will never come home again to their mother's home... Or see their fathers again.

4 dead young men who will never get married...

4 dead young men who will never have children to make their own parents grandparents...

There needs to be a penalty for recklessly driving and killing 4 people.

And 5 years is in my opinion grossly insufficient...

I was in school with that young lady and I heard her talking about that horrible accident. And she was shockingly flippant about what had happened vthat night on TC Walker Rd..... I thought about it later and figured maybe that's the only way she could deal with what she had done. Maybe???

Obviously excluding military service people... Talking about regular everyday citizens... How many people are walking free and they were directly responsible for 4 people being killed???

Yeah.... Bet that number is extremely extremely low.
 
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Tell you the truth dishdude....

If I were on that jury in Gloucester county in that terrible accident involving that young lady who killed 4 people...

And it was only a choice of nothing aka aquital or 100+ years state prison sentence for her....

I would have voted not guilty...

In that case because those guys knew her driving history, they likely we're not wearing seatbelts, and they had made a choice to get into that vehicle with her. I'm not sending her to state prison for life because of those guys making their own choices and what it resulted in.

By the way... That young lady was sentenced to ONLY. .. 15 months in prison... 4.... 4 young guys 18-22 years old dead. .... 15 months is way, way, way too low of a sentence in my opinion. That's not " justice" either in my opinion.

Now... if there were lesser included charges like involuntary vehicular manslaughter... Those I would have found her guilty of. . All day everyday..

And if that meant 25 years... Then so be it. Typically here in Va I have seen many and I mean many cases where people were sentenced to long prison terms with a lot of time suspended.... In this case I would have found her guilty of vehicular manslaughter 4 counts. And would want about half of each prison term suspended. Which would have likely gotten her down to 8-15 years total. I would have been ok with that.

And if you had heard the way she was talking about that horrific accident that day when I was at school with her.... You would have thought a) she hadn't learned a **** thing at all.... And b) she deserves to go to prison for awhile.... It was candidly very shocking and quite disturbing to hear someone be that flippant about 4 young guys being DEAD.... Because of HER actions that night.

But just 15 months... I'm sorry but that ridiculous the other way.



Has a side note....

One of the first responders was one of those young guys father's.... No lie....

Thank God several of his other first responders found his son and knew he was dead and gone..... And they kept him from seeing his son.... Literally dead... And it has just happened... And it was candidly.... Graphic and very rough.
 
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Truckers go down a hill using the same gear you use to go up....I've always heard.

I wonder if it being an Army recruiter (living in the apartments -mentioned above as the target of the arson attack) added "prosecutorial oomph".

I also wonder if the girl's (apparent) years of flippant recantations -her coping mechanism?- of the Virginia crash contributed to the gathering of prosecutorial momentum.
Did the election cycle in Gloucester County coincide in any way with the multi year gap after the horrific crash and the decision to prosecute?
 
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How, if he received the mandatory minimum sentence?
The Governor of Colorado can intervene.
I live about a 1/2 mile from the accident scene and can remember seeing the black smoke that day, tragic as it was 110 years is way too much.

Gov. Polis’ office said in a statement on potential clemency to NBC affiliate KSN: “We are aware of this issue, the Governor and his team review each clemency application individually.”
 
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I have not read the account throughly, but on the face 110 years sounds too much if it was an "accident" meaning without malice.

I have knowledge of a case where a gentleman pulled out in front of a motorcyclist. The gentleman told his story which the police chose not to belive. He was charged with vehicular homicide and was set for trial. Through an independent investigation it was proven that not only was the gentleman's story true but there were significant facts that the police and prosecutor had disregarded or not uncovered which changed the liability picture. I feel certain the police and prosecutor would have been perfectly happy to convict him with no further concern. He was one of the lucky ones as he possessed some means to secure the actual facts.

It is impossible to get too far into it within the rules but our justice system is broken, badly. You cannot trust police, you cannot trust prosecutors, you cannot trust judges and you cannot trust lawyers.

Anyway, on to trucks. As I understand it if you walk into a dealer and order a truck there is a series of questions about capability and usage. You want the big engine, you have to get the big brakes and the big axels and so forth. All of this increases cost so some people elect to "turn it up". I hear that drivers have been let go on the spot for such or driving upon truck being sent for service and scanned but not in other cases. In this case i wonder if the truck was properly equipped and maintained and whose it was, theres clearly a bunch of junk running around on the roads.

At the same time a well maintained and functioning vehicle may not be up to a hill descent if improperly driven... witness the brake check stop halfway down pikes peek.
 
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