x
Breaking News
More () »

Polis says he commuted trucker's sentence to end circus around case; judge expresses frustration

Polis told 9NEWS Thursday he wasn't trying to usurp the judicial process, but he wanted to end the circus and drama around the case.

DENVER — The judge in the I-70 crash case does not seem to be pleased with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' decision to commute the trucker's sentence while the court was considering whether to reduce it.

It's a decision that Judge Bruce Jones said he learned about from the news.

"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."

Last week, Polis reduced the sentence for Rogel Aguilera-Moderos from 110 years to 10 years for the 2019 crash that killed four people. The court was set to reconsider the original sentence at a hearing on Jan. 13, which became unnecessary after the governor's announcement.

A petition to commute Aguilera-Moderos' sentence earned millions of signatures from people across the country. Jones said last month that Colorado law dictated the length of the sentence.

In Colorado, if you're convicted of a "crime of violence," that extends the minimum sentence for each offense, Ian Farrell, an associate professor from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, previously explained to 9NEWS.

RELATED: Sentencing of truck driver in I-70 crash sheds light on sentencing laws

RELATED: Polis reduces punishment for I-70 crash driver originally sentenced to 110 years

"And each of them individually might have, say, a four year minimum, or because it's a crime of violence, an eight year minimum. But when you add that up consecutively over this number of charges, you get what is effectively a life sentence," he said. 

Polis told 9NEWS Thursday he wasn't trying to usurp the judicial process, but he wanted to end the circus and drama around the case.

"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 also said he met with the victims' family members, and almost everyone he spoke to agreed 110 years was too long.

RELATED: Governor Polis appoints 2018 campaign rival to economic development post

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Full Episodes of Next with Kyle Clark