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November 18, 2004

Midnight Toker

I'm all for the bad, bad, evil, law-breaking, won't-someone-think-of-the-children pot smokers going to jail and everything. Even more so when they're dealing the drug. But doesn't it seem that a 55-year sentence for selling marijuana is just a little bit harsh?

The judge who sentenced (the defendent), Paul G. Cassell of the United States District Court, 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.

This leads into my problem with these mandatory minimums. You can have situations where someone committing a relatively (in comparison) minor crime can get a vastly longer prison term than someone who committed, say, murder or rape. It's all the letter of the law, true. But mandatory minimums eliminate the need for context when it comes to determining prison sentences.

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.

One crime is worse than another, and we should let the judges, you know, judge.

Posted by Highwaygirl on November 18, 2004 03:31 PM to the category Current Affairs

Why it is legal for me to brew up a batch of beer but not grow marijuana defies logic.

Which would you rather be around at a bar? A rowdy drunk or a stoned person? Notice I didn't say rowdy stoner because that's just about impossible.

Not that I know what I'm talking about, because drugs are bad, m'kay?

Posted by: Phildozer at November 18, 2004 04:31 PM
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