CHARLESTON, Mo. • Cornealious “Mike” Anderson, whose sentence for armed robbery was delayed for 13 years by a clerical error, walked out of court a free man Monday.
Mississippi County Associate Circuit Judge T. Lynn Brown ordered that Anderson be given credit for the time he was "at large" after his conviction in 2000.
"I believe that continuing to incarcerate you serves no purpose," Brown said as he handed down his ruling. "It would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. You obviously are a rehabilitated man."
Monday's hearing was held in Mississippi County because that's where Anderson had been serving his prison sentence since his arrest last year.
Anderson, now 37, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for a St. Charles County armed robbery in 2000, but when nobody told him to report to jail, he went on with his life.
He became a carpenter, got married, was the father of four children and started his own construction business. Anderson filed tax returns, business licenses and construction permits that would have made him easy to find. Even when Anderson got pulled over for a traffic offense a time or two, police never said he was a wanted man, according to his attorney, Patrick Megaro.
Then last summer, just about the time Anderson would have finished serving his sentence, someone at the Department of Corrections noticed the clerical error.
Marshals found Anderson in Webster Groves, at the address listed on his drivers license, and sent him to prison to serve his sentence.
When Anderson was convicted, he was 23, and his only other arrest was for smoking pot, Megaro said. The Burger King worker who was held up by Anderson and another man had favored Anderson’s release.
Megaro maintained that making Anderson serve his sentence 13 years after the fact would be a violation of Anderson’s rights and constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Megaro asked that Anderson be given credit for the time he was waiting for an order to return to court, and the judge agreed. About a dozen supporters applauded and hugged after the ruling.
"I believe that because of the totality of the circumstances, the court realized that this was the just and right thing to do," Megaro said Monday.
to read more: stltoday.com
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