Readers of these commentaries know that TPOL has nothing but disgust for Colorado’s governor. Why? A list much longer than the long list of pejorative adjectives and character traits that can be applied to the man. These start with thief, liar, baby-killer, double-dealer, pervert, panderer, and many more. Of course, the opprobrium extends to the 1.35 million Coloradoans (53%) who voted for the man, according to official records in 2018.
This year, the man sank further into the slime of the sewer, far below the gutter of most of his life. And once again demonstrated both how little the State of Colorado (like most governments) values human life, and how worthless government is.
The situation is this: this week, the governor reduced the sentence of a man who killed four people and caused millions of dollars of damage to a mere ten years – with probation possible in just five years. That is how much a life is worth in Colorado today: 16-30 months in prison. At least in the case of this killer. (There IS no value of a baby killed intentionally in their mother’s womb, of course.)
In 2019, the convict (CDL truck driver) had his brakes fail on I-70 dropping down into Lakewood and Denver from the west. After passing FOUR truck escape ramps – which according to eyewitnesses he did not even attempt to use – he blew into a large collection of stalled traffic on three eastbound lanes of I-70 at an underpass, destroying 28 vehicles, the underpass, injuring dozens and killing FOUR of the people in the vehicles. The original sentence was 10 years – the law required consecutive sentences for what were and are felonies. And no parole.
My own first reaction? Yes, this sentence was extremely high – minimum sentencing put in place by Colorado voters. Especially since Colorado spends (currently, 2021 $) about $40,000 per year to warehouse its prisoners: this killer would cost the taxpayers of the State $4.4 million if he lived to serve out his entire sentence (unlikely, I know). But even if he lived to 82 – spending 60 years in prison, that would still be $2.4 million – on top of the millions he had already cost everyone in the destruction that accompanied his killings.
And NONE of the families of those four people will get a dime.
But I think that there is more to the case than this. Although the conviction was for vehicular homicide, it was more than that. Big-time activists (like Kim Kardashian) point out that the People should be lenient because he was not on drugs or alcohol. To me? That makes his crime worse: he was sober when he decided to NOT do the safe thing, the right thing, and use one of those escape ramps. So (to me at least) this elevates his crime to premeditated murder: he was acting in a way that had a high probability of causing people to die.
(Consider: A man holding up a convenience store with an armed buddy. The buddy is killed by someone defending themselves. The man is then guilty of murder, NOT the person who defended themselves and actually killed one of the invaders.)
But there is more. Consider another case in Colorado. A man convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to not less than 20 years. It was not premediated, not successful: in a fit of temper he shot his ex-wife and then in remorse successfully kept her alive until the medics arrived (and she survives to this day). He has, to my knowledge, been denied parole twice – not because of bad behavior but because of the “seriousness” of his crime.
There are numerous other cases – many much more recent – of harsh sentences for far lesser crimes. Including – even today with marijuana legal in the State – for pot-related crimes. So why did the piece of work in the governor’s office reduce this sentence so much? NINE PERCENT! of what the judge and jury decided?
Partly, because he can. He is running for reelection in 2022. Many people – especially many of those who vote for him – have signed petitions demanding reduction. Partly because he also needs (or at least wants) the campaign contributions that so-called liberals like Kardashian will shower on the man who “saw justice done” (or overturned, as the case may be). (I say wants because the guy “bought” the 2018 election to governor with $22 million of his own personal money.)
And there are uglier suspicions: the killer was a Mexican immigrant. Therefore in a special, protected class of people in Colorado. He has a wife and young children – and looks good, even in a prison jumpsuit: the photo opportunities are fabulous for the reelection campaign. Three of the four people killed were elderly white people – and who in the heart of Colorado (Metro Denver) really cares much about them? At least among the people who count? And perhaps there is even more: now CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) can be funneled even MORE state and federal taxpayer money (raising gasoline and diesel taxes) to rebuild and build MORE safety features and warning signs and other measures.
Measures that can be ignored by the NEXT truck driver that is fearful of his own life and causal of the lives of others. (Let me point out, I’ve driven that stretch of I-70 down from Floyd Hill into Pleasant View and Lakewood thousands of times over decades. It has more safety features than any other stretch of highway in Colorado or Wyoming or New Mexico, except for US-160 on the south side of Wolf Creek Pass. The killer had plenty of warning and plenty of opportunity to end his “brakes-failed” wild ride miles before the slammed into 28 cars and trucks and sent a explosion of flame across ten lanes of traffic.)
But TANJ – There Ain’t No Justice. Not in Colorado and other States ruled by men and not by laws. And which are “democracies” in which all that matters is how many votes.