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Judge Credits 13 Years That Man Waited to Be Arrested As Time Served

Judge Credits 13 Years That Man Waited to Be Arrested As Time Served

It took only ten minutes to put an end to a journey that began 15 years ago.

Convicted in 2000 at the age of 19 for his participation in an armed robbery the year before, Cornealious “Mike” Anderson was sentenced to 13 years in prison. After a failed appeal, during which he was out on bond, his lawyer told him to prepare to be taken into custody. So Anderson waited for the inevitable.

While he waited, Anderson trained to be a journeyman carpenter, married and had children. He built his home, where he and his wife raised four children. He started his own business, coached his son’s little league team, became active in church. He would live his life contributing to society in the best way he knew how and do so for 4,794 days.

On the morning of the 4,795th day, eight U.S. marshals showed up at his home and arrested him.

That fateful day in July 2013 coincided with the end of the original sentence. However, due to a series of clerical errors and miscommunications within the Missouri justice system and Department of Corrections, Anderson was never arrested.  The entire time the Missouri DOC believed Anderson was in prison and it was only when they were preparing for his release did they realize he was never taken into custody.

For the past nine months, Anderson has been serving his sentence in prison. His new attorney explored legal options to get him released, including filing a Writ of Habeas Corpus on the grounds that tearing him away from the productive life he has lived for the past 13 years amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. The case garnered national attention and petitions were started to urge the Attorney General and the state of Missouri to release him.

The state’s attorney general, Chris Koster, was personally sympathetic to Anderson’s plight. Still, in a reply brief filed last month, Koster argued that he still owed the state time. However, he did hint that the state was willing to work with the court if they chose to seek an alternative solution to keeping Anderson in prison. He stated that if the judge saw it fit to credit Anderson for the time after the appeal and the time he was rearrested, in other words the 13 years he waited to be arrested, the Department of Corrections and the state would not oppose the judge’s decision. Per the Attorney General’s suggestion, Anderson’s attorney filed suit against the Director of the Department of Corrections in late April, arguing that he should be given credit for time served.

On Monday, May 5, 2014, the judge did just that.

In a 10 minute hearing, Judge Terry Brown credited the 4,794 days Anderson remained free before being taken into custody as time served. “I believe continuing to incarcerate you serves no purpose, would be a waste of taxpayer dollars and punish a good man,” Judge Brown said.

Anderson was released immediately and joined by his wife, 3-year old-daughter, and his mother. Amid tears, Anderson told reporters, “I am very happy. My faith has always been in God. I’m just so thankful. Thank God for everything.”

In an interview in prison the previous week with St. Louis television station Fox 2, Anderson spoke of the nightmare he had been living the past nine months and how it was so much harder to be serving a sentence for something he did 15 years earlier. He felt it was an injustice to rearrest him at this stage of his life, noting that he was never a fugitive. He noted several instances where the state knew he wasn’t in custody and that he thought it could have been handled a better way.

He never said he shouldn’t serve any time, he just felt that the sentence given was too extreme and that he should have served at the time of his sentence. He also pointed out that the Missouri Department of Corrections received more than $400,000 for the past 13 years from the state for Anderson when he wasn’t in custody. He feels that the past 13 years of his life should speak to how he has been rehabilitated.

The judge agreed when he announced his decision, “You’ve been a good father. You’ve been a good husband. You’ve been a good taxpaying citizen of the state of Missouri. That leads me to believe that you are a good man and a changed man.”

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http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/man-served-prison-term-thankful-home-article-1.1781131

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93 comments

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5:10AM PDT on Jul 26, 2014

I think the judge was smart in recognizing that Mike Anderson had rehabilitated himself in all those years!
Keep up the good work, Mike!!

5:42AM PDT on May 17, 2014

Nice that it worked out for him since clearly being indited was enough for him to change his ways but this shows a disgusting over sight that could have proven deadly. What happens if a more serious criminal who escalates was over looked like this? Rather then investigating Anderson their should have been an extensive investigation into how such an oversight could be made for so long. If I was in that part of the world I'd wanna make damn sure it didn't happen again, regardless of the fact that they got lucky this time. I would argue leaving a criminal free when they've been sentenced to 13 years jail is criminal negligence and I'd be wanting to find out just who screwed up so badly.

5:14AM PDT on May 9, 2014

Thank you for sharing

4:51AM PDT on May 9, 2014

I am happy that there are still a lot of people using their common sense including the judge representing the State. Hooray!

12:06AM PDT on May 9, 2014

Too bad that he served the 90 days after such an exemplary life post crime. I hope the corrections service paid back the money they received from the state. A truly royal FU by the justice system.

10:05PM PDT on May 8, 2014

Thank you

9:28PM PDT on May 8, 2014

I doubt that over his free time he ever forgot about his 'admitted' crime. Time served, even following an exemplary life, seems wrong to me. There are citizens in prison for far lesser crimes, some innocent. They weren't given this 'justice'.
It's also ludicrous that this man's involvement and incarceration was never pursued by legal authorities.

The justice system has some serious flaws, IMO.

9:22PM PDT on May 8, 2014

Thank Goddess that justice was done. If the purpose of punishment for crime is to pay back society and teach the offender to be a better person, Mike did this on his own with no need for government intervention. I hope his example will inspire others who are seeking justice to see that it is done, and also young men who may be starting down the wrong path that it's better to use an ounce of prevention.

8:24PM PDT on May 8, 2014

It isn't often that justice is served up to an ordinary joe, usually that is just reserved for the wealthy. It's not his fault that the state mistakenly thought he was in jail so why should he have to pay the price to their mistake, especially since being out of prison allowed him to be a productive member of society; whereas had he been in jail, it would have been much harder for him to assimilate back into society and create a healthy lifestyle after all those years.

7:34PM PDT on May 8, 2014

I'm happy to hear this outcome and, even better, that he turned his life around on his own. Judge Terry Brown made a good call. We need more compassionate, thoughtful judges to take the place of the bloodthirsty ones we have now.

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