Sunday, November 17, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune: Pardon Angelos!

The Salt Lake City Tribune has an editorial calling on President Obama to grant a presidential pardon to Weldon Angelos, who is serving a 55-year prison sentence for selling $350 worth of marijuana while in possession of a firearm. Angelos had no prior adult record. The Tribune notes "civil rights advocates have been fighting this case for more than a decade as one of the least justifiable outcomes of mandatory minimums."
What’s different about this letter [of support for clemency] is the sweeping cross section represented in the 114 people who signed it. Rocky and Jake not an odd enough couple for you? How about Norm Bangerter and Bonnie Raitt? Angelos was a budding music producer with a wife and two small children when he did the deed. His cause has attracted the attention of musicians like Raitt, Graham Nash and Napoleon, a former bandmate of Tupac Shakur who is now a motivational speaker. Celebrities aside, the signers also include former FBI Director William Sessions, 29 former U.S. attorneys, 10 former judges, four former governors (including Bangerter) and two former members of Congress (including Garn). 
Ironically, Angelos rejected a plea that would have resulted in a 15-year sentence and went to trial.  There, he argued that he did not have a gun during the sales because "there was no evidence that he had showed a weapon during the drug deals." Guns were found, however, in his home.

The Tribune adds that "even the judge handing down the sentence admitted it was wrong but required under sentencing rules." Indeed, he called the sentence "unjust, cruel and irrational."See story here.

1 comment:

Jacob Lynn said...

The judge called the verdict wrong and the sentence unjust, cruel, and irrational…but…the…rules…are…the…rules…and…they…must…be…—gasp!—followed. Liberty dies not with a gunshot, but with the fall of a gavel.

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