Jay Evensen: When liberals and conservatives agree, it's time to listen

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  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    Rapper and former Fugees producer John Forté was one of 14 people pardoned by President Bush on Monday, according to Reuters.He had been serving a sentence of 14 years in prison since 2001, after being found guilty of possession of 31 pounds of liquid cocaine with intent to distribute.

    Orrin Hatch fought for his release as cruel for such a talented person and he wasn't a user he was a dealer according to Hatch (not as bad?)

    Of course Hatch was hoping for some studio time for producing that garbage he call patriotic music.
    Angelos was also on the pardon list but had nothing apparently that Hatch thought he could exploit.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 7:53 a.m.

    Re: "So we should start locking people up for crimes they might commit."

    Liberals always have trouble sticking to the facts, but when their hearts begin to bleed for someone who engages in one of their pet vices, they get even wilder, don't they.

    Lest we stray too far from reality, let's remember this was a 23-year-old gang-banging drug dealer, who made two good-sized sales to a cop, likely hundreds more to others, and was vicious enough to keep a deadly weapon on display while doing business. Since being imprisoned, he's done nothing to clean up his act, atone for, or even repudiate his criminal lifestyle. Significant amounts of money are now being spent, lining up supporters, by someone with no visible means of access to these amounts of cash.

    This situation cries out for explanation, yet none is forthcoming.

    Hmmmmm. Makes it kinda hard to explain the soft-on-crime crowd's actions.

    There may be people in prison who deserve mercy. This guy has provided no evidence he's it.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 1:44 a.m.

    Charles Manson has done less time than this kid will have to do for selling pot.
    Lizzie Borden did less time than this kid will do for selling MJ.
    Mark Hoffman will do less time than this kid will do for selling grass.
    Al Capone did less time than this kid will do for selling weed.

    Something ain't right.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Nov. 22, 2013 5:17 p.m.

    Do the crime, you do the time.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    Notwithstanding my previous post I believe that our system of punishing people for not following the rules of our society is broken. That is that it is not justice, too expensive, excessively cruel, counter productive and ineffective.

    It is not justice in that it often doesn’t fit the crime. Whether the crime is about sex, money, health, or whatever the punishment is always time behind bars or payment of money.

    If the person is a sex offender, time in jail won’t help. A simple operation might protect the public just as well and leave the individual to continue responsibilities to his family.

    I think punishment should take away the persons ability to do the crime. While prison does that, there may be other ways less destructive to our society.

    I think the severity of the crime should be measured in the harm done to other people. If a person robs a bank, probably nobody gets hurt. If a person makes or sells a harmful product that kills people, no mater if it is drugs, medicine, spinach or peanut butter the crime is worse.

  • Scott12345 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 4:04 p.m.

    This is obviously a case where the sentence was too harsh. I hope his sentence can be reduced / commuted by the President.

    I remember reading a recent story by a major paper (WSJ?) that our current president has issued far fewer commutations than previous presidents. At least part of the reason is because the current commutation process is lousy - certain individuals / supervisors can misrepresent / incorrectly summarize the information and recommendations to the president.

    Thank you for the article - the commutation process needs to be improved. I hope this judgment is reduced.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    @Chris B
    sorry that should have read precedent not president. The article talks about not allowing these types of sentences become the standard measure or precedent.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 2:02 p.m.

    LDS Lib,

    You're right, judging is wrong. We should allow each guilty person in our country to determine their own judgment.

    That's what Jesus wants.

    Good call, you're brilliant

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 2:02 p.m.

    spring street,

    Who said anything about a president standing?

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Nov. 22, 2013 1:52 p.m.

    For all those saying this sentencing is fine, just remember we have MANY people in the church who repented of similar issues and put their lives right. This kid was 18 or so when this went down. In my youth he would not have even been a legal adult. Modern science tells us their brains are not fully developed (parenting tells us the same thing).

    The concept here is the punishment (and there should be some) should fit the crime. This does not.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Nov. 22, 2013 1:26 p.m.

    "We should worry less about this hardened criminal and more about his future victims."

    So we should start locking people up for crimes they might commit. What part of the constitution covers that part - preemptive incarceration? I get the sentiment here, I don't like that we have evil people on our streets... but we can't start locking up, or keeping locked up because they might do something.

    Its just not how we do things.... ok... GITMO excepted.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    I worked at the state prison for a short time as an intern. I got a good look at what life is like for inmates. After you've seen that it's hard to wish prison time on anybody. To take a young man, 23 years old, and lock him away for essentially his entire life over what amounts to one huge, stupid decision is not right. Prison sentences need more flexibility. Like the article said, judges should be able to use judgment in sentencing. They can consider all factors. The fact is this young man foolishly sold drugs, but those he sold to would probably have found another place to buy them anyway. He was illegally holding guns, but he did not use them to injure anybody. Compare this to a drunk driver and the harm they do to people. Ever seen a drunk driver given a 55-year sentence? Sentencing should be based on severity of the crime, the possibility for rehabilitation of the individual, the specific circumstances, and common sense. Politicians got involved in minimum sentencing...that's why the last factor I listed is missing here.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    Tooele, UT
    Re: "55 years is over-kill to say the least."

    His innocents victims that are still alive because he's in jail would likely disagree.

    12:01 p.m. Nov. 22, 2013


    Oh, for crying out loud....

    Let's just lock up each and every America "just in case" they MIGHT do something wrong.

    Talk about backwards -- trampling the Constitution -- thinking!

    That's so far off the mark,
    you've got to be an internet troll.

    That like agreeing the Nazis were correct in concentrating and gassing innocent citizens "just in case".

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Nov. 22, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    @procuradorfiscal – “This unrepentant tough, who -- judging from the support he enjoys by leftist activists, has likely been further radicalized”

    Oh for Pete’s sake!

    And folks wonder why most people think tea party types are a bunch of angry loons…

    I don’t know a thing about this guy and his personal circumstances may very well suggest he should be locked up for life (at a large expense to us we should note), but on the face of it (pot dealing) 55 years seems harsh… like something that would occur in a Muslim country.

    But the most disturbing thing this article points out is how these mandatory sentencing laws have transferred power from judges to prosecutors. This is not good. Prosecutors are paid to be one-sided – they do not seek justice, they represented the State in arguing criminal action and are by definition biased.

    We pay judges to be impartial and apply the law fairly and without prejudice. If we’re just going to treat our judges like rubber stamps we should stop the hypocrisy of calling them judges and pay the accordingly.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 12:01 p.m.

    Re: "55 years is over-kill to say the least."

    His innocents victims that are still alive because he's in jail would likely disagree.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 11:49 a.m.

    the irony of your comment about getting out and harming people is that as is pointed out in the article (which based on your post I have to assume you did not read) he would have received a liter sentence had he "kill(ed) or harm(ed) our kids and grandkids" then the none violent acts he did commit. The reason it is important and supported by both conservatives and liberal thinkers goes well beyond this case to protecting everyone's right to not receive cruel and unusual punishment.


    the reason you should care is that they are trying to maintaining the rights of everyone to not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. If we allow this president to stand then it will effect how the courts determine what is excessive in future sentencing for everything from drug dealing to parking tickets.

  • baChristiannotjustonSunday West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 11:44 a.m.

    I do not consider myself Conservative or Liberal. For lack of a better definition, I am Centrist. With good and bad on both sides of the aisle, I try to judge each policy, law, situation, politician, etc. based on merits, not on a party line or rigid political ideology. I feel that the only standard that can be relied upon to be true, just, and fair is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Using that as a standard, I do not think that a 55-year sentence makes any sense at all. It will cost taxpayers $28,893.40 per year to house just this one man (in 2011 dollars; see Annual Determination of Average Cost of Incarceration at www.federalregister.gov). This is over $1.5 million total - a figure likely to increase with inflation over 55 years. But worse, it defies the teachings of the prophets who many of us claim to follow. See President Hinckley's conference talk entitled "Forgiveness" and note the choice made by Victoria Rivulo in a hard core New York crime that almost took her life (see October 2005 General Conference, Sunday morning session, at www.lds.org).

    Was Victoria Rivulo wrong? Is President Hinckley?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    The irony is that Angelos would be out sooner had he committed rape, hijacked an airplane or even committed some acts of terrorism. Many murderers serve lighter sentences that what he faces.


    over Marijuana for crying out loud?
    [and if it was legal - we wouldn't dealing it either.]

    55 years is over-kill to say the least.

    To the rest of the "throw the book at him", "lock him up and throw away the key."
    You might want to consider what the Lord Judge himself said come your own judgement day.

    Matt 7:1
    Judge not, that ye be not judged.

    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

    Don't be so hard on yourselves...

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    55 years does seem a little excessive. The greater part of the sentance was for the guns. However, unless he's repented, I'd say keep him in for as long as it takes.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    At first reading of the head line of this article my first impulse was to grab and hold on to my wallet.

    As one who has seen his family wrecked by illegal drugs I feel the only suitable punishment for drug dealers is death. I propose that we make it a mandatory death sentence for anyone who makes, sells, transports or supports the illegal drug business. I cannot understand compassion for anyone who destructs so many lives of innocent others.

    My conclusion from the information presented is that there must be a great deal of money involved in buying sympathy for a drug dealer.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    While comparing it to other sentences I agree it doesn't make sense. But at the end of the day he's a criminal drug dealer who illegally possessed weapons and was involved in money laundering.

    I just don't feel sorry for criminals who receive severe punishments.

    Don't be a criminals, its that simple

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 8:25 a.m.

    Re: " His only hope now is for commutation by a president who ought to appreciate a rare instance of liberal and conservative agreement."

    What has this vicious gang-banger drug dealer done while in prison to deserve such mindless largesse?

    What assurances do we have that he won't return to his violent lifestyle, and kill or harm our kids and grandkids if let off?

    This unrepentant tough, who -- judging from the support he enjoys by leftist activists, has likely been further radicalized -- is unlikely to be a good citizen if let out. His cause is strictly political, not compassionate.

    We should worry less about this hardened criminal and more about his future victims.