Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Judge Cassell in da House!

Judge (and still Utah Law professor) Paul Cassell had on his docket a case he really wished to rule otherwise: a young adult (a few months younger than me) who he sentenced to 55 years (and one day) in prison because of a mandatory minimum (28 USC sec. 924(c)). His fellow law professors and judges filed amicui (more than one amicus, or friend-of-the-court brief) trying to pursuade him to rule that this minimums were an unconstitutional encroachment of the legislative branch on the judicial branch (and the whole Due Process, Equal Protection, and Cruel and Unusual clauses). Instead, Cassell gave the man the smallest sentence allowable and begged President Bush, who just appointed him a couple years ago, to commute the sentence to a more reasonable 18 years.

All seriousness of this person's future aside, I had to laugh a the first paragraph of the facts section, per Cassell:

Weldon Angelos is twenty-four years old. He was born on July 16, 1979, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was raised in the Salt Lake City area by his father, Mr. James B. Angelos, with only minimal contact with his mother. Mr. Angelos has two young children by Ms. Zandrah Uyan: six-year-old Anthony and five-year-old Jessie. Before his arrest Mr. Angelos had achieved some success in the music industry. He started Extravagant Records, a label that produces rap and hip hop music. He had worked with prominent hip hop musicians, including Snoop Dogg, on the "beats" to various songs and was preparing to record his own album.

If you want, you can read the whole decision (via the SL Tribune article) and the rest of Angelos' gun-toting Marijunia-smoking life, but this was the most entertaining part for me. But really, read the case. It really makes a solid case why, mantatory minimums, or at least section 924(c), should be amended or repelled all together.

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