The U.S. Supreme court refuses to hear the case of a Salt Lake man who sold marijuana. His punishment: 55 years in prison.
The case of Weldon Angelos, who was sentenced to a mandatory 55 years for selling marijuana, was among a list of cases released Monday that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected for consideration, shocking many in the legal field who say a constitutional review of minimum-mandatory federal sentences is long overdue.
Attorneys representing Angelos expressed disappointment in the news, calling it a “miscarriage of justice.”
“We are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court did not agree to hear the case,” University of Utah law professor Erik Luna said. “This case presented a great opportunity for the Supreme Court not only to correct this miscarriage of justice but also to clarify the scope of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.”
And even though Angelos can appeal his sentence and conviction in a “writ of habeas corpus,” it would be the same courts that upheld his sentence that would review the appeal. The other option is a presidential pardon. How likely is that?
It is continually amazing that persons charged with non-violent crimes incur these types of punishments while many persons charged with violent crimes often incur sentences of much lesser severity. The penal system in the U.S. is long overdue for a serious overhaul and restructuring, from the types of sentences according the severity of the crime, to the de-privatization of our prisons to the development of programs for those who need rehabilitation to the decriminalization of certain “drugs”.