Cassell publishes op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune on Angelos release and sentencing reform

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Paul G. Cassell published an op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune over the weekend about sentencing reform in the wake of the release of Weldon Angelos from prison.

Cassell in February asked President Barack Obama to commute the sentence of Weldon Angelos, a music producer who was sentenced to 55 years in prison in 2004 in connection with selling marijuana.  Angelos’ sentence was not commuted, but he received early release this week.

“The dénouement to the Angelos case was a serendipitous one. In 2004, draconian federal sentencing laws forced me to sentence Angelos to a 55-year jail term for having a gun at three marijuana deals. I criticized the sentence at the time, and so was happy to see federal prosecutors figure out some maneuver to cut Angelos a break from what the law otherwise required,” Cassell wrote in The Salt Lake Tribune op-ed.

In the letter sent to Obama in February, Cassell called the case “one of the most troubling that I ever faced in my five years on the federal bench.”

Cassell is scheduled to appear on ABC’s Nightline in coming weeks to further discuss the case and sentencing reform. The show will be a follow-up to a prior story on the Angelos case that Nightline aired in February 2015.