The Supreme Court today let stand a mandatory 55-year prison sentence, condemned as excessive by the federal judge who imposed it, for a man convicted of carrying a handgun during three marijuana deals, reports the Associated Press. Record producer Weldon Angelos received the minimum sentence under the law–a harsher sentence than a child rapist or a terrorist who detonates a bomb aboard an aircraft would receive. The charges stemmed from his sale of three 8-ounce bags of marijuana to an undercover informant.
Four former attorneys general and 145 former prosecutors and judges back a lighter sentence for Angelos. The sentencing judge, U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell of Salt Lake City, an appointee of President Bush, called the sentence “unjust, cruel and irrational.” He said the law left him no choice. Prosecutors said the sentence was appropriate and an appeals court agreed.