This story is a by FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Sentencing):
Thirteen years ago I was standing outside the federal court house in Salt Lake City, Utah, awaiting the sentencing of 23-year-old Weldon Angelos. Together with his family and advocates from across the state, we rallied for the fair sentencing of a father of three who was caught selling $1,000 worth of marijuana to a confidential informant. Despite our best efforts, Weldon was sentenced to 55 years in prison for his offense. His own judge called the sentence “unjust, cruel, and even irrational.” In spite of the judge’s objection, his hands were tied by mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Weldon was sent to prison, 600 miles from his family, to await his release at 80 years old.
Three weeks ago, I received one of the best phone calls of my life. After 13 years in prison, Weldon was home with his family. And this week, I got to celebrate Weldon’s freedom with him, his son Jesse, and the staff at FAMM! Thankfully, Weldon’s story has a happy ending. But there are thousands like him who are serving excessive mandatory prison sentences. Just like Weldon, there are mothers and fathers across the country who have been separated from their children for lengthy and unnecessary periods of time. Just like Weldon, there are judges who have spoken out against the mandatory sentences they are forced to impose.
Judges are trained in the area of law. They should be allowed therefore to judge. Otherwise, let the robots run the criminal justice system. Huh?! Period, Case-Closed!