Colorado Governor Jared Polis says that his decision to commute the 110 year sentence of a truck driver was simply aimed at ending the drama, but the judge in the case is not pleased with the way it was done.
Polis reduced Rogel Aguilera-Moderos’ sentence on Thursday, December 30th from 110 years to 10 years, despite the fact that a hearing to reconsider the sentence had already been set for January 13th by Judge Bruce Jones. Now, Jones says that the way Polis went about reducing the sentence was disrespectful.
“The Court respects the authority of the Governor to [commute the sentence],” Jones said in a statement on Tuesday. “Based on the timing of the decision, however, it appears this respect is not mutual.” Jones says he learned about the commutation on the news. The January 13th court date has since been cancelled.
“This isn’t the fault of the judge who passed the sentence. The judge’s hands were tied,” Polis said. “A previous legislature and previous governor signed the law that forced the judge to do that. That was a rule in the 1980s. We can remedy that. Had this been the original sentence … the whole world wouldn’t be talking about it, because people would say, ‘Yeah, that makes sense.'”
Polis told 9 News that his intent was not to undermine the judicial process, but that he wanted to put an end to the “circus and drama” around the case. The announcement of the sentence reduction was made during the recent destructive Marshall fire.