CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, December 4, 2006

SCOTUS Let 55 Year Sentence Stand for Dealing Pot and Toting a Gun

Supreme_court_20_9From The Supreme Court on Monday in Angelos v. U.S. let stand a mandatory 55-year prison sentence, condemned as excessive by the federal judge who imposed it, for a man convicted of carrying a handgun during three marijuana deals.

Record producer Weldon Angelos received the minimum sentence under the law _ a harsher sentence than a child rapist or a terrorist who detonates a bomb aboard an aircraft would receive, according to his attorneys. The justices, without comment, left the prison term undisturbed.

Angelos was convicted of 16 counts of violating federal firearms, drug and money laundering laws in 2003. The charges stemmed from his sale of three 8-ounce bags of marijuana to an undercover informant.

He had a gun but never brandished or used it. Nevertheless, the three counts of possession of a firearm in a drug transaction required the mandatory minimum sentence.

Four former attorneys general and 145 former prosecutors and judges wrote in support of a lighter sentence for Angelos. Even the sentencing judge, U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell, an appointee of President Bush, called the sentence "unjust, cruel and irrational." But he said the law left him no choice. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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I have neither the time nor the patience to speak the obvious to a nation of fools, but hear this once; Democratic law-enforcement officials exist only as a manifestation of our acceptance of the social contract made by an informed electorate in search of an enlightened Constitutional Democracy. The Fourth Estate was simultaneously empowered with the tools necessary to see that these extraordinary powers were used only for the greater good rather than the elite few.

That contract has been broken. Those who you have entrusted to use the fire born of violence; as we have so directed Prometheus now likewise. Equally, their use of Fire untamed can be balanced only by a similar use of Fire.

So Mote It Be, So Must It Be All Ways


Posted by: Gary Williams | Dec 7, 2006 3:15:53 AM

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