CHEYENNE – Paul A. Lucero asked Laramie County District Judge Catherine Rogers on Thursday to sentence him to probation for a felony driving under the influence of alcohol charge.
He had been accepted into a residential treatment program here and wanted another chance to turn his life around, he said.
“I have to change my life. I’m ready to change,” Lucero told Rogers.
“I’m done being the kid playing games with the law,” he continued, adding that he’s ready to get his life back.
But Lucero, 50, went against his plea agreement by asking for probation.
The deal reached with the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department in September said both sides would recommend a prison sentence of three to five years.
In exchange, the prosecution agreed to dismiss misdemeanor counts of driving under a suspended license, driving without a required interlock device and failing to maintain a single lane.
Because Lucero broke his agreement, Laramie County assistant district attorney Joshua Taylor told the judge he wasn’t going to go along with the deal either.
Taylor instead recommended a prison term of five to seven years.
He described Lucero as having a “violent disposition” and a problem with substance abuse.
Taylor told the judge he found it disingenuous that Lucero would say he’s now ready to change, given the numerous chances he’s already had to rehabilitate himself.
Lucero completed the Intensive Treatment Unit program in prison during a 1998 sentence for assault and battery and paroled out, Taylor said, “but he persisted in his criminal behavior for over a decade past that.”
Lucero went on to graduate from Laramie County DUI Court, Taylor added, saying Lucero willfully ignored one of the state’s best opportunities to address his substance abuse issues and lead a lawful life.
Taylor said he sees no reason not to sentence Lucero to five to seven years in prison, and that there’s no other option to ensure community safety and guarantee he will learn his lesson.
The maximum penalty for felony DUI is seven years in prison.
A DUI can be charged as a felony if the defendant committed at least three other DUIs in the previous 10 years.
Lucero’s most recent DUI in March 2015 – the one for which he was being sentenced – is one of nine DUIs in his criminal history, Taylor told the judge.
Rogers asked Lucero why, given his “lengthy, lengthy” 16-page criminal history, she should believe what he said about turning his life around and living on the straight and narrow.
Lucero said he spent many years sober and that being in jail “was disgusting for me.”
He said he accomplished a lot while sober, including running a local boxing club and concrete pouring business.
Lucero asked the judge how he can be considered a threat or a menace to society when he’s entrusted to teach children boxing and pour concrete for the city.
“I’m doing a lot for the community,” he said. “I don’t want to lose that.”
Rogers told Lucero he’s “delusional” to come before her and deny or dispute the fact that he’s a threat to the community because he pours concrete to make sidewalks.
She said she has an obligation to protect the community from his criminal conduct and imposed Taylor’s recommended prison term of five to seven years.