Pubdate: Sun, 10 Jan 2016
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2016 The Washington Post Company
Author: Lisa Angelos


Regarding the Dec. 29 letter "Who's to blame for a long sentence?":

Lawrence J. Leiser of the National Association of Assistant U.S. 
Attorneys seems to stand alone in bemoaning President Obama's 
clemency initiative. Public-interest groups and legislators from the 
most conservative right to the most liberal left have joined in 
sponsoring and supporting sentencing reform legislation that would 
offer relief to prisoners, such as my brother, Weldon Angelos, who 
would serve essentially life sentences for low-level drug crimes.

My brother was a first-time offender who received a 55-year sentence, 
50 years of which was based on possessing a firearm during two 
marijuana sales worth $350. Unless he receives clemency, he will 
likely die in prison. My brother accepts that he is responsible for 
his choices, but his sentence is ridiculous. Even the judge who 
sentenced my brother said the sentence was "unjust, cruel and even 
irrational" and called on then-President George W. Bush to commute 
the sentence. Today, he is joined by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and 
Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah).

The clemency initiatives pursued by Mr. Obama and the sentencing 
reform supported by many in Congress reflect what society as a whole 
has come to acknowledge: Severe, mandatory-minimum sentences do far 
more harm than good. It is a deep disappointment that these 
prosecutors are out of touch with where the country stands.

Lisa Angelos

Sandy, Utah
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