Conservative Group Praises Release of Nonviolent Felon Forgotten By Obama
Despite having commuted the sentences of 348 federal inmates so far (according to Reason magazine), President Obama did not honor the letter. The details of Angelos' release are not yet public, but it appears a federal prosecutor had second thoughts and somehow commuted his sentence.
President Obama may have decided to avoid involvement in the Angelos case because of the connection with firearms. If so, the president has shown cowardice or pure anti-gun calculation in avoiding one of the clearest examples of a miscarriage of justice.
In calling for the commutation of Angelos' sentence, Generation Opportunity joined many liberal organizations like the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) seeking criminal justice reform. "We work with groups across the political spectrum because criminal justice reform is not a right or left issue, but an issue of fairness," the group's president explained.
"We believe the punishment should fit the crime and the most important way to achieve that goal is to implement the types of bipartisan reforms that have already been passed in conservative states like Texas and Georgia, where they reduced both their prison size and crime," Clark declared.
The Generation Opportunity president praised a particular politician for drawing attention to the case. "Senator Mike Lee should be praised for leading a bipartisan coalition in the Senate to pass real reform as well as educating the public about Weldon Angelos' unjust sentence," Clark told PJ Media.
Despite Obama's holding back on the Angelos case, White House Counsel Neil Eggleston also argued for criminal justice reform. "Despite these important efforts, only legislation can bring about lasting change to the federal system," Eggleston wrote. "There remain thousands of men and women in federal prison serving sentences longer than necessary, often due to overly harsh mandatory minimum sentences."
Obama has granted more commutations than the previous seven presidents combined, which makes his distance from the Angelos case a real head-scratcher.
"After three and a half years of inaction on Weldon's clemency petition, he is free because of the fair and good action of a prosecutor," Mark W. Olser, Angelos' lawyer, told The Washington Post. "He returns to citizenship because of the actions of one individual--just not the individual I was expecting. Weldon's freedom is a wonderful thing but remains just one bright spot among many continuing tragedies."
Angelos himself delivered a statement through Generation Opportunity. "I'm eternally grateful for the tireless efforts of my sister, Lisa, my family, and the individuals and organizations who never gave up on me," the man declared. "There is no greater feeling than holding my sons, who were little kids when I was put away, and watching my older son graduate from high school."
"Now that my long nightmare has ended, and I am back where I belong, I want to help ensure that other men and women who have been dealt unfair sentences are given the justice they deserve," Angelos declared. Organizations like Generation Opportunity will continue fighting for such reform, and can ironically count the Obama administration as an ally in this important fight -- although perhaps only a fair-weather friend.
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