LULAC President Travels To Colorado To Urge Clemency For Rogel With Governor

Nation’s Largest and Oldest Latino Civil Rights Organization Asks Governor Jared Polis to Return Rogel Home To His Family

Today, Washington, DC – The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) issued the following statement concerning a meeting between LULAC National President Domingo Garcia and Governor Jared Polis at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.
The two leaders met to discuss a request by more than 4.7 million people for clemency in the case of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, a 26-year-old Cuban American truck driver from Houston, Texas. Mederos was found guilty on 27 counts stemming from the April 25, 2019, crash on I-70, including first-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault. Colorado state law calls these “crimes of violence,” and the judge in the case assessed the trucker a mandatory prison sentence of 110-years. Mederos stated his brakes failed, and he could not stop his tractor-trailer loaded with lumber. There are no allegations that Mederos was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and he had no prior record of serious traffic violations.

President Garcia in the Colorado State Capitol meeting with Denver attorney Leonard Martinez who is representing Rogel Mederos. Also in the meeting were members of Rogel's family, including his mother and wife.

Domingo Garcia - LULAC National President
“LULAC thanks Colorado Governor Polis for his willingness to meet and discuss the case of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos. We had a very open, frank conversation about a path forward that acknowledges the lives lost, those who were hurt, and what is fair for the man convicted in this tragic accident. Our message to Governor Polis is clear; this is a case of a tragedy being turned into an egregious injustice of Colorado’s criminal court system. Life in prison for a man who is a trucker and whose brakes went out is too harsh and not an appropriate sentence for the alleged crime.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis

LULAC asked Governor Polis to grant clemency based upon the time already served and commute his sentence. Rogel Aguilera-Mederos could be any one of us who could one day face a similar situation in a traffic accident. Imagine confronting a mandatory sentence in a case where there is no deliberate malice or intent to harm others. Rogel is facing this fate because our courts have historically treated blacks and Latinos more harshly than whites. He represents the ‘other.’ The district attorney in Rogel’s case made him an example, with a morbid brake trophy for the lead deputy DA, who got the 110-year sentence. Colorado needs to revisit its mandatory minimum sentencing laws and make changes. Race and ethnic background should not play a role in our criminal court system. Justice in America should be color blind!

We fully trust that Governor Polis understands that millions of Americans are watching and want to right an injustice. We hope that Rogel can go home to his family. Governor Polis, give Rogel his freedom this Christmas.”

(Left) President Garcia and Colorado LULAC State Director, Sonny Subia outside Colorado Governor's Mansion. (Right) Colorado LULAC State Director Sonny Subia, President Garcia and Delma Gorostieta, his Chief Legal Assistant.

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About LULAC
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/

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