Judge Questions Sentencing Guidelines

Judge Questions Sentencing Guidelines

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- A federal judge is questioning why he should impose a 61-year prison sentence on a drug offender who likely would have faced no more than two or three years in prison had he been charged in state court.

Twenty-four-year-old Weldon Angelos was convicted of 16 counts of drug trafficking, weapons possession and money laundering.

Three weapons charges -- for carrying a firearm during two marijuana deals and having firearms in his apartment while he was in the business of selling marijuana -- carry a mandatory term of five years for the first count and 25 years each on subsequent counts. The terms are to be served consecutively.

The other counts carry a mandatory six and one-half-year term.

U-S District Judge Paul Cassell has ordered prosecuting and defense attorneys to write briefs on the constitutionality of the mandatory sentence.

Sentencing is set for March 26.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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