Showing posts with label Utah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Utah. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

So, Who Hit Sen. Hatch With a Stupid Stick?

On, or about May 6, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) delivered these words (below) in the United States Senate. We provide annotations in red.

"Last week, the Justice Department announced a plan to extend clemency consideration to a large new class of drug offenders. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post estimate that the Department’s new guidelines will potentially apply to tens of thousands of cases, with clemency likely to be granted to perhaps thousands of current federal inmates. A mere drop in the bucket, given the very high rate of incarceration in this country, and in our federal prison system.

This surprise announcement by the Administration The announcement was only a "surprise" to those not paying attention to this topic. It was, in fact, highly anticipated and, in the view of many, long over due marks a worrying shift away from the longstanding norm requiring individualized determinations based on the particularly compelling circumstances of specific cases. There is no such norm "requiring" any such thing. Or, if we are going to abuse the language that way, we should note that there is an equally long-standing norm of group pardons (or amnesties). Any suggestion otherwise can only be the by-product of inexcusable ignorance or the disturbing desire to mislead. Instead, the Justice Department has laid the groundwork for mass clemency based on a few widely-shared and broad criteria. As has been done many, many times before, across 225 years.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Utah: Rejection

The Associated Press reports that the State's five-member parole board has "unanimously decided not to grant clemency" to Ronnie Lee Gardner, who is scheduled to be executed by firing squad next week. It is reported that the board found that "the jury's verdict imposing a death sentence was not inappropriate and that no sufficient reason exists to grant clemency or to commute" the sentence. The AP also says the last time Utah "granted clemency to a condemned man" was in 1962! See story here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Utah: Clemency Hearing for Ronnie Lee Gardner

The State's Board of Pardon and Parole has agreed to hold a two-day hearing for forty-nine year old Ronnie Lee Gardner, who is set to be executed on June 18, by firing squad. Gardner was sentenced to death in 1985 after a female accomplice slipped him a handgun in a courthouse while he was in the process of being tried for robbing and murdering a man in a Salt Lake City bar. At the time of the arrest, Gardner was also an escapee from the State Prison, where he was serving sentences for burglary and robbery.

After the female slipped the loaded gun into the courthouse building in a bag of clothes, she passed it to Gardner as he came through a doorway. A guard shot him in the shoulder almost immediately. But, while handcuffed, Gardner managed to shoot his own attorney in the head and severely wound an unarmed sheriff's bailiff before being detained. At the time of the incident, he was twenty-three years old.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Utah: Request

Weldon Angelos is in the 5th year of his prison sentence. He is scheduled to be released 50 years from now because a three-round sting operation caught him selling a total of eight ounces of marijuana for the grand sum of $350. In each instance, the "buyer" (who was up for conviction on much more serious charges involving drugs and firearms and trying to gain favor with prosecutors) tried to coax Angelos into involvement in more serious crimes. But, each time, Angelos declined the invitations and, eventuality, refused to even talk to the informant.

About a month later, Angelos was cited for carrying a concealed weapon. When the informant reported the incident to law enforcement officials, police reports were then amended to suggest that he (Angelos) had been carrying a weapon during the above-mentioned marijuana sales. And that is when a federal grand jury indicted Weldon on three counts. Before trial, 17 additional counts were added, including a count for handguns found in Weldon's home (his father was a firearms aficionado) and two more counts for handguns found in his girlfriend's home. None of the firearms were illegally obtained. The government then refused to plea bargain.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Utah: Request

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Weldon Angelos, a Utah record producer, is asking that his mandatory 55-year prison sentence be commuted. Angelos was convicted in 2003 of 16 counts of drug trafficking, weapons possession and money laundering. The Tribune reports, however, that U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell (nominated by George W. Bush in 2001) "reluctantly imposed the sentence" and called the mandatory term "unjust, cruel and irrational." See story here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Watch List: The Hatch Letter (for Forte)

The Salt Lake Tribune has some insights regarding the letter of support that Senator Orrin Hatch (R) provided for John Forte (see our Pardon Watch List) . The letter notes that Forte, who was caught in an airport receiving 31 pounds of liquid cocaine, was "teaching guitar and music to his fellow inmates" and "writing songs with messages that today's youth need to hear." Hatch contends Forte was not a risk to society because he was not a "drug user" and "very special individual with uniquely outstanding talent." The letter also suggested Forte's incarceration was "benefiting no one" and that he could "contribute to the war on drugs." See full article here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Utah: New Online Searchable Archive

Utah State Archives Series 328

DESCRIPTION: Case files consist of letters to the Governor, a formal application for a pardon, petitions and letters of support from the public and officials connected to the case and during the first 40 years, case files often contained court transcripts, biographical sketches, prison evaluations and a wide variety of related documentation. Cases illustrate the process of review by the board of cases of prisoners incarcerated in the Utah prison system to determine if they should be released before their regular sentence ended. Documents contain personal data about the prisoner, criminal activity, family background and evaluation of the prisoner's adjustment to incarceration.

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