Kim Kardashian joins millions seeking clemency for immigrant truck driver sentenced to 110 years
Kim Kardashian has backed calls for clemency for a truck driver sentenced to 110 years in jail over a 2019 crash that killed four people.
On Tuesday (21 December), Kardashian highlighted the case of Cuban immigrant Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, who was found guilty of 27 criminal counts—including vehicular homicide—over a deadly car crash in Colorado on 25 April 2019.
Aguilera-Mederos, who was 23 at the time, was driving a semi-truck on a Denver highway when the brakes of his vehicle failed. The semi-truck crashed into two dozen cars, causing a huge explosion and killing four commuters stuck in rush hour traffic.
On 13 December, Aguilera-Mederos was handed the lengthy sentence by Judge A Bruce Jones.
In a series of Instagram stories, Kardashian publicly backed the growing calls for governor Jared Polis to grant the 26-year-old clemency or to commute his sentence.
She said she took a “deep dive” into Aguilera-Medero’s case, which has garnered national and international attention, to “figure out what the situation is”.
Kardashian wrote: “He [Aguilera-Mederos} was not drunk or under the influence [at the time of the crash]. His brakes on the semi-tractor trailer failed.”
Another “unfair” part of this trial, Kardashian told her 271 million followers, was that Judge Jones did not want to give Aguilera-Mederos such a harsh sentence.
She continued: “However, because of the mandatory minimums in Colorado, his hands were tied.”
The Independent reported that Judge Jones was left with no other option due to the number of charges Aguilera-Medero was found guilty of by a jury on 15 October this year, and the rules under state law. In Colorado, each count should be served consecutively rather than concurrently.
Kardashian, who recently passed California’s first-year law students exam (or the “baby bar”), said: “Mandatory minimums take away judicial discretion and need to end.”
The 41-year-old is currently studying to become an attorney and has emerged a staunch advocate for prison reform in the US.
In an Instagram story, Kardashian also drew attention to a “shocking” Facebook post by the prosecutor in Aguilera-Mederos’ case.
Jefferson County deputy district attorney Kayla Wildeman shared a photo of a “trophy” — a brake shoe from a semi-truck with the case number and her name printed on a placard — she received from her trial partner as a gift for securing the 110-year prison sentence.
Kardashian criticised Ms Wildeman’s social media post, writing: “Four people died in this tragic accident. Rogel has a life sentence for the accident, which will not only destroy his life but it will also impact his wife and son’s life.”
“And yet, for some reason, the prosecutor thought it would be funny to post a photo of a brake shoe trophy received from a colleague with a plaque? Makes me sick,” Kardashian said.
Ms Wildeman’s post has since been deleted.
A Change.org petition urging Governor Polis to commute Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence or grant him clemency has been signed over 4.6 million times, reportedly making it the third biggest petition in 2021.
It was first set up in 2019 by Heather Giblee, who called for the trucking company to be held responsible rather than Aguilera-Mederos. It garnered widespread attention following the sentencing last week.
The petitioner posted an update in the case late on Tuesday night.
“The District Attorney has filed a motion to request a review for sentencing in this case, and it’s set for Monday (27 December),” Giblee wrote. “Polis has also received the application for clemency and it is being reviewed by his legal team. Polis’ office stated they will make an announcement when they have a decision.”
Kardashian final Instagram story on the matter read: “I pray that Governor Polis, who has been a leader on supporting reforms that increase human dignity in the legal system, will commute his sentence.”