55 Years for Selling Weed, Really?

Paul Cassell,

formally a federal judge, and now a law professor at the University of Utah, has asked President Obama to commute a marijuana dealer’s 55 year sentence. Weldon Angelos was convicted of selling marijuana to a police informant on 3 separate occasions charging the informant $350.00 each time. The informant told police that Angelos had a gun in his car and an additional gun strapped to his ankle during the first two drug buys.  The police later found additional handguns in a search of Angelos’ home

A gun law required a 5 year sentence for the first use of a gun in a drug crime, and 25 years for each additional use, leading to the mandatory 55 year sentence. Angelos has now served 12 years.  Cassell believes that the mandatory sentence for Angelos was unfair when he imposed it, and wanted to impose a lower sentence he thought was warranted.  “When the sentence for actual violence inflicted on a victim is dwarfed by a sentence for carrying guns to several drug deals,” Cassell writes in his letter to Obama, “the implicit message to victims is that their pain and suffering counts for less than some abstract war on drugs.” Pennsylvania recently abolished their mandatory requirements for some cases and therefore, anyone that has questions about criminal law or sentencing, please feel free to contact Giribaldi & Manaras, P.C. at (610)891-8303.