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Clerical Error Kept Man Free for 13 Years – Until Now? (Opinions Requested, Please.)

A NY Post article published today tells the story of a man who had been convicted of armed robbery, sentenced and, well, no one noticed that he wasn’t incarcerated – for 13 years – until his release date.  Much to Corrections surprise, this man was not and had not been in prison all of those years.  He hadn’t escaped, run away or gone underground.

Man sent to jail after clerical error kept him free for 13 years

convicted criminal who spent 13 years as a free man because of a clerical error now faces the same amount of time in jail — after authorities discovered their boneheaded mistake more than a ­decade later.

Missouri officials who stumbled upon the paperwork bungle — which showed felon Cornealious “Mike” Anderson as an inmate in state prison even though he never showed up there — want to undo the snafu by throwing the now-upstanding businessman behind bars for the next 13 years.

The case has left legal experts baffled and Anderson’sfamily and friends struggling to understand the sordid past of the armed robber, who by all accounts is a changed man.

“Even the victim himself went on record and said, ‘Idon’t think this guy should be in jail,’ ” said Anderson’s lawyer, Patrick Megaro.

Anderson, 37, is now a married father of four, owns his own contracting business, coaches football and is a devoted churchgoer, according to his lawyer and family.

But when he was just 22, Anderson and a friend robbed a Burger King night manager at gunpoint in St. Louis. No one was hurt in the 1999 holdup, but Anderson was sentenced to 13 years.

He spent 10 months in jail before his family managed to cobble together $25,000 to secure his release as he filed a series of unsuccessful appeals, the Riverfront Times reported.

After the last judicial rejection, the young man, out on bond, waited for law enforcement to take him to prison.

But they never came.

He began to build a life, learned the carpentry trade, and fell in love.

In a final 2004 effort to secure his freedom, Anderson hired yet more lawyers to appeal his conviction. Court documents at that time make clear that Anderson was not in prison, but authorities didn’t seem to notice.

The appeal went nowhere, but again no one showed up to take Anderson to prison.

It was only last summer — when his sentence “ended” — that correction officials went to release him and noticed he was never there. US Marshals descended on his quiet, suburban St. Louis home and finally locked him up.

“He’s been away from home for nine months. It seems longer,” his devastated wife, LaQonna, 30, told The Post.

The couple is raising four children ranging in age from 3 to 12.

“He is a changed man,” she said. “Everybody deserves second chances, I believe, and my husband is one of them. He’s completely turned his life around.”

More than 10,000 people have signed a Change.org petition, demanding Anderson’s release.

Please vote in our poll below and feel welcome to comment.

Gavel Bangers; April 2014

crime and punishment

* Jurors find that  police used excessive force but that the plaintiff wasn’t injured in the beating.  [The Florida Times-Union]

The trial began Tuesday and ended Thursday after three hours of deliberations, during which the jury answered two questions:

■ They agreed that Rhoden and Cole [defendants, two deputies] “intentionally committed acts that violated Mr. Fussell’s [plaintiff] federal constitutional right not to be subjected to excessive or unreasonable force during an arrest,” according to language in the jury instructions.

■ But when asked whether defendants’ “conduct caused Mr. Fussell’s injuries,” they said no.

Although the jurors were not privy to Mr. Fussell’s lengthy criminal record (dating back to 1970), they apparently didn’t like him.  At all.  In essence, via their decision, the jury tacitly stated, “You deserved the beating and probably more for crimes we don’t know about.  No money for you.”



angry dog


* The DEA wins this month’s most idiotic argument against marijuana legalization ever: it’s harmful to dogs. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

From Michele Leonhart, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration,

WASHINGTON — Michele Leonhart, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, has a message for those considering legalizing marijuana: Please, think of Fido.

Testifying on the DEA budget during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, Leonhart said she expected a number of things to happen after Washington and Colorado were allowed to go forward with the legalization of marijuana last year. What she didn’t anticipate was the impact on man’s best friend.

“There was just an article last week, and it was on pets. It was about the unanticipated or unexpected consequences of this, and how veterinarians now are seeing dogs come in, their pets come in, and being treated because they’ve been exposed to marijuana,” Leonhart said.


Backstory:  Leonhart was referring a recent USA Today story in which Colorado veterinarians expressed concern about the “increasing availability of marijuana appears to be driving an increase in pot-poisoned pets.”

Fact: According to a study by Colorado State veterinarian Tim Hackett,  two dogs have “died from eating large amounts of marijuana-infused butter” since 2000, when Colorado legalized marijuana for medical use.

This is the DEA’s head honcho’s  best anti-pot legalization argument.   Apparently even thinking about drugs kills brain cells.

That’s what we have for you this week. If you come across any particularly interesting head-scratching gavel bangers – please, send them in.

Have a productive week.

BNI Operatives:  Street smart; info savvy.

As always, stay safe.


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