What happens when even a conservative judge thinks that a sentence being handed down is way, way too harsh?
Nothing if mandatory minimum sentencing is at work.
“In May and June 2002, the founder of Extravagant Records, which counts Snoop Dogg among its clients, twice sold $350 worth of pot to a Utah police informant. The first time Angelos carried a pistol in the center console of his car; the second time he had one in an ankle holster. When the police searched his apartment more than a year later, they found three handguns. Angelos wasn’t accused of hurting or threatening anyone. He has no criminal record. But after he turned down a plea bargain that would have locked him up for 15 years, the irked federal prosecutors in Salt Lake City piled on three counts under the federal statute that penalizes drug dealers for carrying weapons. One count would have gotten Angelos five extra years in prison. Three of them got him 55. All told, Angelos faced a possible 61 years behind bars once the jury convicted him. He is 24 years old.”