As a longtime criminal justice advocate, I read Jay Evensen’s opinion piece about my friend Weldon Angelos’ pardon by the president with great interest (“Why one of Trump’s pardons sent a needed message on criminal justice reform,” Dec. 23). Mr. Evensen was spot on about the need for the reforms that led to Mr. Angelos receiving a 55-year federal prison sentence as a first time offender. Mr. Evensen’s otherwise comprehensive analysis of the issues is missing a major element to Mr. Angelos’ pardon, as well as the reforms that were passed in 2018 as part of the First Step Act: Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
As someone heavily involved in Mr. Angelos’ case and the passage of the First Step Act, I believe none of this would have happened without Sen. Lee. He made criminal justice reform one of his prime issues when he first became a senator and constantly advocated for Mr. Angelos. Given that reality, I find it curious that there is no mention of him in Mr. Evensen’s piece. Sen. Lee deserves ongoing praise for leading on these issues, which are likely to be in the forefront in Congress and the White House in the coming year.