Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Good day for mandatory sentencing

It's a bad day for judicial sanity. We talked about Weldon Angelos' case back in November as an example of the extreme disparity in sentencing for cannabis "crimes."

The case has wound its way through the appeal process and unfortunately, justice did not prevail. The 55 year mandatory sentence was upheld by a federal appeals court despite the agonized decision of the orginal sentencing judge who said "he believed [it] was "unjust, cruel and irrational," and a "friend of the court" brief by four former U.S. attorneys general and nearly 160 other ex-Justice Department officials and federal judges.
"(Angelos' sentence) is contrary to the evolving standards of decency which are the hallmark of our civilized society," they said.
Judge Briscoe upheld the sentence with some truly bizarre logic.
In Monday's ruling, the appeals court judges said they agreed with prosecutors who said the sentence was appropriate for Angelos' convictions and for other behavior involving drugs, guns and gang activity that prosecutors had evidence of, but did not charge him with.

"Although it is true that Angelos had no significant adult criminal history, that appears to have been the result of good fortune rather than Angelos' lack of involvement in criminal activity," said the ruling, written by Judge Mary Beck Briscoe.
So in other words he's being punished for what they suspect, but couldn't prove he did. Furthermore, the appeals court agreed that police acted without proper authority when they expanded the scope of the search of one of Angelos' houses in Salt Lake City but allege that didn't adversely affect his defense?

Did I mention he's the owner of the rap-music label? This is lifestyle discrimination with a capital D. And for you second amendment supporters, keep in mind this guy is going to jail for longer than murderers or child rapists, mainly because of sentencing enhancements simply because he owned guns. He was not accused of using them in the commission of a crime.

First they came for the pot smokers....


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