University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Paul G. Cassell appeared on ABC’s Nightline in the wake of the release of Weldon Angelos from prison.
The segment is available to view here.
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 case continues to serve as an example for needed policy discussion on sentencing guideline reforms, Cassell said.
“It’s great to see that the injustice in the Angelos case has been rectified, but we need systemic reform to make sure these kinds of injustices never occur in other cases. Angelos’ case was resolved with a serendipitous fix,” Cassell said. “We shouldn’t rely on serendipity in a federal criminal justice system that prides itself on rationality and justice.”
In the letter sent to Obama in February, Cassell, a former federal judge who handed down the sentence to Angelos in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court, called the case “one of the most troubling that I ever faced in my five years on the federal bench.”