Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Rolling Stone

So… it has been quite a week!  On Saturday I caught a shark, today I have a key meeting on clemency here in Washington, and yesterday I got to see a great profile that Andrea Jones wrote for Rolling Stone.

I really do like what she wrote-- both about me and (more importantly) about the people like Weldon Angelos who are serving unfair sentences.  There is one part that I'm glad she put in; it was something I have only said once, and that was to her as we sat in the offices of the Brennan Center last summer:

Widely enacted in the Eighties and Nineties amid rising crime and racially coded political fearmongering, mandatory penalties — like minimum sentences triggered by drug weight, automatic sentencing enhancements, and three-strikes laws — have flooded state and federal prisons with nonviolent offenders. Intended to ensure uniform discipline, these policies simply shifted discretion to prosecutors. Judges lost latitude to tailor sanctions based on whether someone was a kingpin or courier, for example, while Osler says, prosecutors gained "a big hammer. The easy way of doing things is to threaten people with a lot of time, and then plead them out," he says. "But easy and justice don't go together very well."

I really do believe this-- that justice done well is not easy.  It's expensive and hard.

Anyways, my only regret is that I didn't suggest that they run this photo with the story:

The Times, the Post, NPR, legal Journals … OK … not bad.

But … Rolling Stone! Now I am impressed.

Nice piece Mark.

Good article, well zoomed into what your effort has been about from the very beginning. What made this article special though, were the stories of Timothy Tyler, DeJarion Echols, Jenifer Lockwood, Jesse Webster, Weldon Angelos, Paul Carter and Danielle Metz. Ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary circumstance that turned their life into a wasteland and their families into collateral casualties. Another 259,993 more such stories and perhaps things would change in the right direction to correct this so obviously flawed system.
PS I was going to comment on the photo too, but I figure some things are best left alone ;)
Weldon Angelos is one of my pro bono clients....
Really enjoyed it; keep fighting the good fight!
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