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January 16, 2009

A request for a commutation for Weldon Angelos

Regular readers will recall the name Weldon Angelos; Angelos was sentenced nearly five years ago to a federal mandatory minimum sentencing term of 55 years in prison following three small hand-to-hand marijuana sales to a paid government informant.  I became directly involved in Weldon's case when his sister asked if I would help with his 2255 motion.  Aided by a great legal team working pro bono, we are continuing to litigate this motion.  And, as detailed in this new report in the Salt Lake Tribune, this team has also now filed a clemency petition requesting President George Bush to commute Weldon's extreme sentence.  Those interested in the clemency petition (which is very long because we added some court filings in the appendix) can download it below:

Download Angelos Clemency Petition (Bush)

Related posts providing some of the legal history of the Angelos case:

January 16, 2009 at 03:28 PM | Permalink


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If ever there was a someone who got a bad break this guy would certainly qualify-Talk about a draconian sentence. 55 years for three hand to hand marijuana sales.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 16, 2009 6:54:22 PM

Perhaps, but he did have a gun. Not sure he should get out after 5 years.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 17, 2009 9:32:05 AM

It is a constitutional right to have a gun, so I don't see how that reflects negatively upon him. That's like saying he has a mouth.

Posted by: DK | Jan 17, 2009 12:25:07 PM

I know you can never really tell but in this case after reading the clemency petition Mr Angelos seems like a perfect candidate for his sentence to be commuted. It seems unreal that a person could be sentenced to 55 years for marijuana offense even with a gun. I hope he is successful in this request.

Posted by: BS | Jan 17, 2009 12:41:32 PM

He has a constitutional right to have a gun--he doesn't have a constitutional right to deal drugs while armed.

Posted by: | Jan 17, 2009 1:01:46 PM

Who said he had a constitutional right to deal drugs? But you can't draw a negative inference from his carrying of a gun (a protected Second Amendment activity) any more than you can from his having a mouth and using it (a protected First Amendment activity).

Posted by: DK | Jan 17, 2009 1:05:35 PM

His real crime was exercising his constitutional rights. That's a heinous felony in most parts of this here United States. Gotta send a message to others who would dare to the same.

Posted by: George | Jan 17, 2009 2:24:16 PM

"But you can't draw a negative inference from his carrying of a gun (a protected Second Amendment activity) any more than you can from his having a mouth and using it (a protected First Amendment activity)."

Ahhhh. But you can draw such an inference. In a rational society you would be laughed at. But a person can do it.

I was reading an article a few weeks ago about a man who was walking alone in a suburb of London at night. He was carrying a hammer with him. He claimed it was for self-protection. But the police arrested him for "carrying an instrument of burglaring". He was convicted by a judge and given a fine.

That's our future, don't kid your yourself, and Heller be damned.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 17, 2009 2:58:47 PM

Above all else, the problem with this case is the interpretation of "second offense" in 924(c). Congress should amend the statute to make it clear that each separate act of possession can be charged as a five year offense and give the court discretion on consecutive or concurrent for more than one conviction (i.e. first count must be consecutive, two or more can be).

I would like to know the back story on this case. Of course the AUSA can't get on his blog and tell his view of the case - the DOJ won't let him. The bare facts of this case as ably presented on this blog and in the court filings make the whole thing look bizarre - why did the government decide to handle the case this way?

As a prosecutor I think it is important to remember that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Posted by: AlanO | Jan 18, 2009 3:14:53 PM

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