While more than three million Americans have signed a petition to reduce the harsh sentence that truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos got following the I-70 crash incident, a Jefferson County deputy DA who helped secure the conviction has made headlines for the wrong reasons. After winning the case, the prosecutor bragged about receiving a trophy from a colleague.
Mr. Rogel Aguilera was recently sentenced to 110 years in prison. The case involved a truck crash on Interstate 70 near Collar Mills Parkway in April 2019. The fatal crash left four people dead, namely; 69-year-old Stanley Politano, 24-year-old Miguel Angel Arellano, 67-year-old Arvada Willian, and 61-year-old Doyle Harrison.
The I-70 case has been rocky from the beginning, from his first attorney Roby Corry dropping the case in early 2020 to the trucking company evading charges. But that didn’t stop the nation from rallying behind Mr. Aguilera, especially since he was a first-time offender and the possibility that the truck’s brakes were faulty.
After securing the win, Kayla Wilderman, a Deputy District Attorney in Jefferson County, wrote a seemingly boastful piece on her Facebook page. “Get yourself a trial partner as great as Trevor Morizky,” she said. “He turned a brake shoe from a semi-truck into a momento. What a special gift from a really special person. I never asked for a new BFF at work.” She goes on to heap praises on the colleague and friend who gifted her the “trophy.”
On Monday 20th December 2021, Alexis King stated that they had addressed the issue internally. Through a spokesman, she stated that it wasn’t normal for prosecutors to give each other trophies and that she knew of the post on Monday morning and immediate action had been taken. However, she didn’t clarify the said action. On the other hand, Douglas Cohen, a former first Judicial District prosecutor and a current defense attorney said that celebrating colleagues is common for both sides of trial lawyers.
Following the trophy award to Wilderman, some members of the legal community pondered if Trevor Moritzky was in any way the suitable candidate for the vacant position of district court judge for which he has been considered. James Colgan, Aguilera’s defense lawyer, said that the post and the trophy were very unprofessional. Both Wilderman and Moritzky couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday. Wilderman’s social media accounts, including Facebook, and Linkedin, couldn’t be accessed and seemed to be deactivated.
The Interstate 70 crash has been under alot of scrutiny, with many defending Rogel Aguileras’ role in the crash and blaming the trucking company for the failed brakes. And that’s why many came to the truck driver’s defense after the 110-year sentence resulted. The lengthy sentence has drawn much attention nationally, including a Washington D.C based organization, The League of United Latin American Citizens. Could bias be in play against the Latino community? That’s a question many have had after hearing of the sentence.
As millions continue petitioning on Change.org, Alexis King said she is considering to reconsider the sentence that her office prosecuted.