In 2004, Weldon Angelos was sentenced to a 55-year prison term after selling marijuana to a government informant. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws were the reason behind the stiff sentence for Angelos.
“Congress has essentially said, ‘Rape, murder, terrorism are all bad, but drug dealing’s far worse,’” Angelos said, “and that makes no sense.”
He isn’t the only one that believes the sentence was far too harsh for the crime. Retired judge, Paul Cassell who handed down the sentence in Angelos’ case said, “When I handed down that sentence, my hands were tied. So, the only thing I could do was go down kicking and screaming.”
In 2016, Angelos was released after serving 13 years in prison. Since then, he has worked with Paul Cassel and Utah Senator Mike Lee to change the input a judge has on these types of cases during the sentencing process.
“I’m not going to get out and be bitter and be mad and be mad at the system,” Angelos said. “I’m going to do something about it, and then the 13 years I lost won’t be for nothing.”