Call me crazy, but are we giving people the wrong idea when marijuana dealers are getting longer sentences than murderers?
The judge who sentenced him, Paul G. Cassell of the United States District Court here, said that he pronounced the sentence “reluctantly” but that his hands were tied by a mandatory-minimum law that required the imposition of 55 years on Weldon H. Angelos because he had a gun during at least two of the drug transactions.
Judge Cassell said that sentencing Mr. Angelos to prison until he is 70 years old was “unjust, cruel and even irrational,” but that the law that forced him to do so had not proved to be unconstitutional and thus had to stand. The sentence was all the more ironic, he said, because only two hours earlier he had been legally able to impose a sentence of 22 years on a man convicted of aggravated second-degree murder for beating an elderly woman to death with a log. That crime, he argued, was far more serious.
Mr. Angelos’s wife, Zandrah, who sat in court with the couple’s two boys, aged 5 and 7, began crying. “He might as well have killed someone,” she said bitterly, wiping her eyes, referring to her husband. “He should have done worse than he did if he was going to get 55 years.”