A Utah federal judge on Tuesday reluctantly imposed a 55-year mandatory-minimum sentence on a first-time drug offender, but not before delivering a scathing rebuke on the sentencing laws that mandate the term, says the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. “To sentence Mr. (Weldon) Angelos to prison for essentially the rest of his life is unjust, cruel and even irrational,” U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell said. But Cassell said he had no choice but to follow the statutes and sentence Angelos, 25, to prison for more than half a century for selling two small bags of marijuana.
He called on President Bush to commute Angelos’ sentence to one more in line with his crime–he suggested 18 years–and called on Congress to revisit the mandatory-minimum laws that required the term. Angelos, founder of the Utah-based rap music label, was convicted in December on two drug charges and gun charges for carrying a gun during the drug sales and for keeping additional firearms at his apartment. “We just saw the effect of a Congress concerned about their seats and re-election instead of justice,” said one of Angelos’ supporters.