During his sentencing hearing, Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos broke down in tears as he pleaded for a judge to forgive him for a 2019 incident in which he crashed a big rig into a group of stopped cars on a Colorado highway. The collision killed four people, injured six more and started a fire that engulfed several vehicles and melted portions of the highway, the Washington Post reports. "I would have preferred God taken me instead of them," said Aguilera-Mederos, 26.
U.S. public opinion is closely divided over whether people convicted of crimes spend too much, too little or about the right amount of time in prison, reports the Pew Research Center. The differences are especially notable differences in views by party affiliation, ideology, race and ethnicity.
Henry Montgomery walked out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola after nearly six decades behind bars, and nearly six years after his own case led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that freed hundreds in the intervening years, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in January 2016 in Montgomery v.
In the latest case destined for infamy for the leniency shown a privileged white man charged with a sex crime, a county court judge in New York's Niagara County said jail time "would be inappropriate" for 20-year-old Christopher Belter, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to felony charges including third-degree rape in assaults on four adolescent girls during parties at his parents' home when he was 16 or 17, the Washington Post reports. Judge Matthew J.
As the third anniversary approaches of President Trump's signing of the First Step Act to ease harsh sentences for non-violent offenses and reduce recidivism, the U.S. Sentencing Commission remains hobbled by vacancies that mean it cannot give judges guidance on how to invoke the law, the sole remaining member of the commission told Reuters. Senior U.S.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed laws aimed at reducing prison sentences for people convicted of drug- and gang-related crimes, despite concerns from prosecutors, reports the Los Angeles Times. One measure seeks to reduce the number of sentence enhancements that can double prison terms. More than 150 enhancements exist for aggravating factors that include prior criminal records, use of a gun in the commission of a crime and offenses involving minors.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom ended mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes in the nation's most populous state, giving judges more discretion to impose alternative sentences, the Associated Press reports. The law grew out of what Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco called a failed war on drugs that disproportionately incarcerated people who are Black or Latino.
A federal judge approved the unconditional release next year of John Hinckley Jr., who wounded late President Ronald Reagan and three others outside a Washington, D.C., hotel in a failed assassination attempt in 1981, NPR reports. Hinckley, 66, has been living outside a mental health facility for the past several years, a result of a gradual lightening of supervision.
As judges increasingly have used electronic monitoring instead of prisons to monitor inmates through the coronavirus pandemic, newly released data confirm what advocates have long argued: Ankle monitors are onerous, and they often subject wearers to vague rules, like avoiding people of “disreputable character.” The ankle monitoring business, the research found, is dominated by four profit-seeking companies, and it ultimately could drive more people back to prison,
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