Throw away the key
Reluctantly, U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell handed out the 55-year term, a mandatory sentence of five years for the first gun charge and 25 years each for the second two, which must be served consecutively, but handed Angelos just one additional day behind bars for the remaining 13 drug-related counts. In Angelos' case, the mandatory prison term was "unjust and cruel and even irrational," Cassell said. Indeed, Angelos' defenders lined up a bevy of former prosecutors and judges who agreed the term was harsh, unjust, and likely unconstitutional. But the 10th Circuit disagreed, opining that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that only in "extraordinary cases" does a man-min sentence actually constitute cruel and unusual punishment, and thus become unconstitutional. Indeed, the judges wrote that the Supremes have only twice (in 1910 and 1983) vacated a sentence as a violation of the Eighth Amendment. So in Angelos' case, "we conclude that this is not an 'extraordinary' case in which the sentences at issue are 'grossly disproportionate' to the crimes for which they were imposed," Judge Mary Beck Briscoe wrote for the court. According to the Tribune, Angelos' attorneys are considering asking the 10th Circuit to reconsider their ruling and/or filing an appeal with the Supreme Court.