Should Mike Anderson III go free?

posted at 9:11 pm on April 15, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

So, here’s the deal.

Fifteen years ago, as a young and admittedly troubled man, Cornealious “Mike” Anderson was convicted of armed robbery after he and friends stuck up a Burger King manager making a deposit. After his conviction, he posted bond and was released during the appeals process. His appeals failed and he waited for the state to tell him to report to prison. He waited and waited. He called his lawyer who told him to just keep waiting. The state would surely come for him.

The state never came. In the meantime, he got married, had four kids, and led a law-abiding life. He lived under his name, registered a business, and never tried to hide. A clerical error told Missouri officials Anderson was already in jail. In 2013, when he was to be released, Missouri finally realized its oversight. They sent a SWAT team to pick up Anderson and make him serve his 13-year-sentence. He was 22 when he was convicted. He’ll now be 50 with grown children if he serves all his time.

You can listen to Anderson’s story, below. For what it’s worth, the victim, who was deeply affected by his mugging, doesn’t think Anderson should be imprisoned:

“It’s their fault, so I mean it’s like they’re going to try and penalize him for another 13 years,’’ said the man, identified only as Dennis on “This American Life.” “That don’t seem right.”

Some argue that if the hope or point of prison is rehabilitation, then Anderson’s already rehabilitated. That much is certainly true. But part of a prison sentence is simply punitive. Should Anderson have to pay that debt regardless of his status as a stand-up citizen?

On the other hand, doesn’t the state have to pay a price for its mistake? If any of us had neglected to, say, pay our tax bills for 13 years there’d damn sure be a penalty involved. I’d rather let these children keep their father and let the state keep collecting the tax revenue from his business and his family full of current and future decent citizens rather than spending money to keep him in jail.

A Change.org petition to the Missouri AG for his release has almost 20,000 signatures.

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Harry Reid, you have a call holding on line two, please. Harry Reid, line two.

rogerb on April 15, 2014 at 9:14 PM

Being republican and, therefore racist … (Thanks, Steve Israel!) I say lock him up.

In reality, if the state forgot to lock him up and he hasn’t committed another crime since – why lock him up? Which is pretty much identical to my illegal immigrant position.

lorien1973 on April 15, 2014 at 9:16 PM

On the other hand, doesn’t the state have to pay a price for its mistake? If any of us had neglected to, say, pay our tax bills for 13 years there’d damn sure be a penalty involved.

A powerful argument, to be sure…

JohnGalt23 on April 15, 2014 at 9:18 PM

Let him free but require community service. He needs to set an example to his children that you don’t get rewarded (in this instance serving no time) for doing wrong.

31giddyup on April 15, 2014 at 9:19 PM

If the state had failed to charge him before the statue of limitations had expired, he couldn’t be charged with the crime.

In this case, they went one step further into incompetence – they convicted him but failed to do THEIR paperwork …

… strangely enough, the state wants to compound their incompetence by making EVERYONE ELSE pay for it (i.e. the person convicted, the taxpayers (twice!), his family).

This should be treated as the administrative failure it is and a plea for work release probation (5 years?) should be arranged – as long as he continues to be who he currently is, he remains free.

PolAgnostic on April 15, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Send the lawyer that told him to lay low instead. Everyone wins.

Flange on April 15, 2014 at 9:20 PM

I would assume this is why a Governor has the power to grant a pardon.

sharrukin on April 15, 2014 at 9:20 PM

This isn’t a debt I need repaid.

Taxpayer goes to tax payee and family goes on welfare. Economically it makes no sense, he’s rehabilitated, and we don’t need yet another broken family and ruined business.

rbj on April 15, 2014 at 9:21 PM

He should petition for a revised sentence. I’d say two years unsupervised probation would be reasonable. I would think most judges would not even go that far.

Good luck to him.

BKeyser on April 15, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Probation and community service.

cozmo on April 15, 2014 at 9:22 PM

I would assume this is why a Governor has the power to grant a pardon.

sharrukin on April 15, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Or just clemency.
You would think this would be a no-brainer for a Democrat Governor, too.

Count to 10 on April 15, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Taxpayer goes to tax payee and family goes on welfare. Economically it makes no sense, he’s rehabilitated, and we don’t need yet another broken family and ruined business.

Ditto for me. Don’t we have enough people in prison already? It’s not like this guy escaped or ran or attempted to avoid his sentence. It was the government who screwed up.

Let’s save the taxpayers money, let the man return to his family and rebuild his business. Far more sense in that to me than any other scenario.

pbundy on April 15, 2014 at 9:24 PM

He committed a crime, armed robbery, was tried, found guilty, and was sentenced.

He knew he was supposed to serve his sentence all these years. He knew he only owed his freedom to sheer luck, an error, he exploited it, and he knew his luck could run out someday.

It’s run out. The state has ‘come for him’.

Time to do the time.

thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

This is why governors have the power of pardon and commutation.

Steven Den Beste on April 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Should the State pay a price. Perhaps. But this man should not necessarily benefit. He got his youth free. He now can do his time in less productive years. If he gets any relief it should be minimal. He did do the crime. He knew all those years that most likely the State would come calling perhaps the only reason he kept himself clean.

He is now finally serving his time. Perhaps a few years off for his good behavior those 13 years would be appropriate.

Steveangell on April 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Seems to hit on the cruel and unusual punishment.
Let him build a life only to take it away.
This is not like someone who built a life already and did something to get them put in jail after building that life. Here they gave him the impression that he was free and now making him serve a sentence after this period time seems cruel not to mention very unusual.

astonerii on April 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Okay so lemme get this one straight…..

Young man acts like a stupid young man-CHECK
State sentences him for stupid mistake-CHECK
Young man appeals & appeals-CHECK
While appealing man gets life on track, holds a job, gets married, fathers children (no reports of any out of wedlock babies or past due child support issues),starts own business and contributes to society-CHECK
Man gets older, wiser, listens to duly appointed/hired legal counsel-CHECK
Man commits no other crimes during all this time-CHECK
State incompetently refuses to ensure they have locked him up-CHECK
State now wants to punish reformed, contributing, tax paying, upstanding citizen for their screwup…..WTF?!-CHECK

State screwed up. Man reformed…why exactly should a non-violent, non-reoffending man go to jail again?

Please explain to me? And use small words if you don’t mind. As this truly baffles me.

SgtSVJones on April 15, 2014 at 9:27 PM

He should petition for a revised sentence. I’d say two years unsupervised probation would be reasonable. I would think most judges would not even go that far.

Good luck to him.

BKeyser on April 15, 2014 at 9:21 PM

That sounds about right to me – and I’m pretty much a law and order kinda guy.

whatcat on April 15, 2014 at 9:27 PM

I’d rather let these children keep their father and let the state keep collecting the tax revenue from his business and his family full of current and future decent citizens rather than spending money to keep him in jail.

Actually, how much of that is left after being in prison for 9 months already?

Count to 10 on April 15, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Justice delayed is justice denied, and that works both ways. He’s not even the same person as he was back then, apparently anyway. What if people lived to be a thousand years old rather than a hundred, should someone be put in prison for something they did 500 years ago? What if people lived to be ten thousand years old rather than a hundred, should someone be put in prison for something they did 5,000 years ago?

VorDaj on April 15, 2014 at 9:27 PM

…give him amnesty!
…he’s a good man now…and a citizen!

KOOLAID2 on April 15, 2014 at 9:28 PM

He is ‘rehabilitated,’ and his victim doesn’t want vengeance. Seems slam dunk. What kind of meanie would now wreck his life?

However, neither rehabilitation nor vengeance are the real reason societies need criminal penalties in order to avoid chaos. Potential perpetrators need to understand there will be a consequence to their choice of behavior.

People do not step in front of moving buses. Why? Clearly they avoid that behavior because they understand the consequence. We (all civilized people) want the criminal contemplating making the choice to engage in criminal activity to have the same kind of understanding of choice and consequence.

However, I find my common sense has perhaps been corrupted by our bleeding heart decadence. There is something philosophically gruesome about this particular application of consequence. People should have the right to a speedy trial and swift punishment.

fadetogray on April 15, 2014 at 9:29 PM

He should go free. Hes leading a productive life. The State messed up. Its their fault, not his.

tommy71 on April 15, 2014 at 9:30 PM

He knew he was supposed to serve his sentence all these years.
thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

And the state knew he was supposed to, also. It’s not his responsibility to lock himself up.

whatcat on April 15, 2014 at 9:30 PM

It’s run out. The state has ‘come for him’.

Time to do the time.

thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Sentencing and prison is supposed to serve a purpose and this doesn’t. It doesn’t reform anyone, it doesn’t bring respect to the system of justice, it doesn’t right a wrong, it doesn’t bring retribution for the wrongs done…so what is the purpose?

sharrukin on April 15, 2014 at 9:30 PM

The prison system is big business. Jailers, clerks, medical staff, lawyers, judges, police, the SWAT team? How many prison staff salaries and pensions did the taxpayers pay for over this 13 year period this guy was not in jail?

If the prison system was a business, it’d be sued for fraud. Ha, I tickle myself sometimes.

Ruckus_Tom on April 15, 2014 at 9:32 PM

VorDaj on April 15, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Depends on the crime. Remember, if people live to be a thousand, then killing someone or multiple someone’s denies them all those years. Some crimes do not and should never have statutes of limitations.

For this guy, I think his life is testament that jail will not do society any good. No one died. The crime has a statute of limitation of 3 years, 6 if he is trying to evade capture. It is well past that period.

astonerii on April 15, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Totally OT, but Colorado Dems going full Gosnell on SB 175.

Vote has been delayed, but we really need some Health Law legal eagles on this one.

The abortion industry wants to operate as if it existed under the principle of charitable immunity. Charitable immunity was replaced by corporate liability in the late 60s.

These facilities should be held to the same scope of standards that would apply in a court of law for medical negligence cases, i.e. the “reasonably prudent person’ standards. On informed consent. On Infection control. On H&Ps. On everything.

lineholder on April 15, 2014 at 9:33 PM

whatcat on April 15, 2014 at 9:30 PM

Armed robbery is a felony. Would you say the same if he’d shot the guy?

Further, we don’t know that he’s led and exemplary life. We only know he’s not been caught breaking the law since his conviction.

I’m not inclined to just take his word for it.

I’d be amendable to a plea deal, something along the lines of a reduced sentence in light of no further evidence that he’s continued to break the law and has maintained a family, but he shouldn’t get off with no consequences for his actions.

thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:33 PM

He’s rehabilitated and beyond the statute of limitations.

There are a lot better uses for our tax dollars then locking him up.

talkingpoints on April 15, 2014 at 9:37 PM

fadetogray on April 15, 2014 at 9:29 PM

I find that a number of the philosophical conundrums are alleviated by properly considering uncertainty. We set out punishments for crimes because it is the least uncertain way to maintain order. If order is maintained in an instance without the normal punishment, then we can say that in hindsight it would have been unnecessary in that one case (though we could not have known that in advance).
Another thing to consider is that, when the state appears to arbitrarily punish a person in good standing within his community for a distant (and potentially long forgotten/forgiven), it can break down public sentiment toward lawful behavior.

Count to 10 on April 15, 2014 at 9:39 PM

sharrukin on April 15, 2014 at 9:30 PM

It is your opinion that jailing this individual doesn’t serve justice.

I disagree.

He broke the law, a felony, he understood he’d been convicted and sentenced. He understood that the day could come when he’d be apprehended.

I’d be amenable to renegotiating his sentence based on no further convictions since the last one, but not commuting the entire sentence.

thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:40 PM

Totally OT, but Colorado Dems going full Gosnell on SB 175.

Vote has been delayed, but we really need some Health Law legal eagles on this one.

The abortion industry wants to operate as if it existed under the principle of charitable immunity. Charitable immunity was replaced by corporate liability in the late 60s.

These facilities should be held to the same scope of standards that would apply in a court of law for medical negligence cases, i.e. the “reasonably prudent person’ standards. On informed consent. On Infection control. On H&Ps. On everything.

lineholder on April 15, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Unless they are going to depart from the concept of being medical care, and covered by medical insurance, they have to be held to the same standards as other medical facilities.

If they don’t want to be held to those standards, they can’t be medical providers and can’t be covered by medical insurance, in my personal opinion.

talkingpoints on April 15, 2014 at 9:41 PM

He should be put on probation… or Parole.

Kaptain Amerika on April 15, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Oh and how about a link to something besides Change.org… I mean did you people forget how to blog or what? This was a conservative blog before Townhall bought it as ad space right?

Kaptain Amerika on April 15, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Drop it.

22044 on April 15, 2014 at 9:45 PM

Let’s see… he was supposed to face retribution for his crime. He didn’t. Justice hasn’t been delivered then.

He needs to serve a sentence, but I can see commuting the sentence on the grounds of “good behavior,” the same as is done with criminals who actually do time in prison.

Stoic Patriot on April 15, 2014 at 9:47 PM

They should really reach an agreement with the governor to pardon him, then lock him up for a day.

Justice done, and justice done.

This is precisely the type of circumstance that pardons were invented for.

Not Mark Rich.

notropis on April 15, 2014 at 9:47 PM

A fair number of innocent people have served long sentences…Dirk Gently might take a karmic approach and let Peterson stay free to balance things out.

My suggestion…jail him for 14 days and then give him 2 or 3 years parole.

Frankly, I think he would be an excellent role model for prisoners to demonstrate that it is possible to turn life around.

Blaise on April 15, 2014 at 9:50 PM

And they sure as HELL didn’t need to send a SWAT team. Good lord, really?

notropis on April 15, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Leave him be. Do it for the children.

Seriously… We need all the intact families we can get.

pannw on April 15, 2014 at 9:53 PM

talkingpoints on April 15, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Indeed.

For right now, I just hope they find enough support in the “reasonably prudent person” precedent that can prevent this law from being passed.

lineholder on April 15, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Frankly, I think he would be an excellent role model for prisoners to demonstrate that it is possible to turn life around.

Blaise on April 15, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Now that’s an excellent idea and it doesn’t set a precedent of allowing convicted felons to simply go free if they avoid going to prison long enough.

He could serve 2 years or so of parole visiting the local prison and county jail once a month and talking to inmates about how to turn their lives around, the importance of family and employment, being a productive part of the community, particularly young first offenders.

thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:57 PM

But part of a prison sentence is simply punitive. Should Anderson have to pay that debt regardless of his status as a stand-up citizen?

…i’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re being sardonic, but you’re making it rather difficult!

the punition obsession of the modern “justice” system serves absolutely no beneficial purpose whatsoever! while the deterrent effects of the penal code are and important pillar of our still-diseased society, the point of the judicial system should never be seen as punishment.

while it’s difficult to speak about “ideal justice” in the current rather archaic paradigm, we as a society should be focussed on our mutual best interest. how can anyone think it’s in our mutual best interest to lock up a business-owning family man — a productive citizen of society by all measures — at taxpayer expense for a youthful indiscretion that he has obviously outgrown?

we’ll not only deprive the state of his business’ income, but put the taxpayer on the hook for the cost of his incarceration and the social benefits that his family will surely need, having lost their provider…and possibly make antisocial criminals out of him and his children in the process?

of course, the obsession with punition is rooted in the christian religion: a lifelong exposure to, and eventual intellectual purchase into, the sadistic myth of eternal, inescapable punishment seems to have fetishsed the idea of “extractive justice” in the minds of those who have been unwilling or unable to cast off the shackles of a pernicious mythology. surely jesus, who decried the vengeance of retributive justice as codified in torah, would find no redemption in the locking up of a productive and clearly reformed participant in society.

indeed, the aforesaid deterrent effects are hardly cogent to this farcical situation in the first place: instead of serving as a warning against wrongdoing, of course this individual will, hardly inaccurately, be held as a martyred victim of buffoonish state incompetence by those most at risk for seduction by criminal temptations.

far better to let him serve as an example of the reward of rehabilitation — a shining exemplar of the relative benefits of social integration illuminating the stark contract between true reformation and simply “doing the time” only to return to a criminal lifestyle once the penalty has been payed in full.

surely we can all agree that there is no benefit to be had in spending money and ruining lives to “punish” a man who mad a youthful mistake over a decade ago only to transform himself into a model citizen and father.

jaxisaneurophysicist on April 15, 2014 at 10:11 PM

thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:57 PM

…agree!

KOOLAID2 on April 15, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Find a more creative way to punish him than prison. Some sort of community program with a fine or something.

blue13326 on April 15, 2014 at 10:17 PM

Is it ironic that if he had gone to jail he would probably not be the upstanding citizen he is today? He probably would have become a repeat offender and ended up back in jail. He would not have been rehabilitated in jail, but instead turned in to a permanent criminal. Maybe this is a sign for penal reform and that we need to rethink our punishments somehow.

philoquin on April 15, 2014 at 10:19 PM

I am in the “Probation And Community Service” camp too. The State screwed up and he hasn’t gotten in trouble since.

BigGator5 on April 15, 2014 at 10:25 PM

What a waste of money.

NoStoppingUs on April 15, 2014 at 10:29 PM

In case y’all didn’t catch it he was hauled off by a dang SWAT team in July 2013 and has been in jail ever since. It isn’t like he is ABOUT to go to jail!

SgtSVJones on April 15, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Tough case. Violent crime, conviction, the whole nine yards. He didn’t try to run or hide. He didn’t take on an assumed name. He filed paperwork with the state courts two years after the appeals were denied informing them he was not in prison, which makes this particularly interesting because he did everything except drive himself to a random penitentiary. Instead, he turned his life around and built an apparently healthy family and local business.

So, instead of using his freedom to commit more crime, he instead used it to turn his life around and help others by growing a small business.

The victim, though…You can’t forget about the victim. The victim suffered severe psychological issues, eventually resulting in losing his job and his marriage. Somehow, though, even he seems to be of the belief that enforcing the sentence now, on a man very different from the one who assaulted him years ago, is neither just nor deserved.

By the law, I believe Mike should be let go. He made significant effort to inform the state of his whereabouts, and they failed to enforce the law.

On a personal level, again, I do not feel this is justice. “Go straight, and the government will still throw you in jail whenever they feel like it!” This is not a message we want to be adding to the already-criminal morass of prison life. Instead, I liked the idea of having him give counseling or the like to inmates, and show them there is a chance at a better life.

This is far better than taking a reformed man and turning his family into another broken home with fatherless children.

Asurea on April 15, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Sounds like he’s been rehabilitated. His congressman needs to get involved. Or is he Democrat.

crankyoldlady on April 15, 2014 at 10:31 PM

of [sic] course, the obsession with punition is rooted in the christian religion:

jaxisaneurophysicist on April 15, 2014 at 10:11 PM

Not only are you a stranger to capitalization, but history and theology escape you as well.

Ricard on April 15, 2014 at 10:31 PM

If any of us had neglected to, say, pay our tax bills for 13 years there’d damn sure be a penalty involved.

If the IRS waited 13 years to collect, would they let you off the hook and consider the debt paid? I kinda doubt it.

xblade on April 15, 2014 at 10:33 PM

Not only are you a stranger to capitalization, but history and theology escape you as well.
Ricard on April 15, 2014 at 10:31 PM

Only talk to jax if you want to practice counter-trolling. The guy is a complete imbecile.

Asurea on April 15, 2014 at 10:33 PM

of [sic] course, the obsession with punition is rooted in the christian religion:

jaxisaneurophysicist

Yeah, I’m pretty sure the concept of punishment for wrongdoing has been around a little longer than Christianity.

xblade on April 15, 2014 at 10:34 PM

He committed a crime, armed robbery, was tried, found guilty, and was sentenced.

He knew he was supposed to serve his sentence all these years. He knew he only owed his freedom to sheer luck, an error, he exploited it, and he knew his luck could run out someday.

It’s run out. The state has ‘come for him’.

Time to do the time.

thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

We wouldn’t want to cloud the issue with common sense now would we? Hey this guy is a citizen…he should at least get the same slack as an illegal these days. Jack you have a future as a school district bureaucrat. Holy Crap give the guy 2 years probation and have the governor give this guy a pardon and call it a day. AG Holder is more of a menace in your life than Anderson

HatfieldMcCoy on April 15, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Only talk to jax if you want to practice counter-trolling. The guy is a complete imbecile.

Asurea on April 15, 2014 at 10:33 PM

+1

And prone to verbal diarrhea.

sharrukin on April 15, 2014 at 10:37 PM

If the IRS waited 13 years to collect, would they let you off the hook and consider the debt paid? I kinda doubt it.
xblade on April 15, 2014 at 10:33 PM

Actually, yes, we would let you off, unless there was one of two things:
1) We charged you with some form of criminal tax fraud and you were convicted.
2) You agreed, in writing, to an extension of the Collection Statute.

Google IRM 5.14.2, and find the link to irs.gov.

Asurea on April 15, 2014 at 10:38 PM

This isn’t a debt I need repaid.

rbj

Me neither.

Waiting every day of your life for them to send you away and still making a man of yourself is enough.

tree hugging sister on April 15, 2014 at 10:53 PM

jaxisaneurophysicist on April 15, 2014 at 10:11 PM

“…Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19.

The Bible discourages punitive vengeance, explicitly.

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using [your] liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” 1 Peter 2:13-17.

Honor the laws of the land. Meaning the societies of men establish laws for good conduct and order, and Christians should respect them.

This idea you have that Christianity is based on the fire and brimstone fear of eternal punishment is strange and absurd. The faith is based on the concept of an eternal reward for the faithful.

I’m not even Christian and I know this…

Your claims of being a neuroscientist and physicist are absurd. No scientist bases judgements on anecdotal stereotypes when empirical evidence is available.

Besides… Are you so eager to join the abyss that you cannot bear to look into the light?

Asurea on April 15, 2014 at 10:59 PM

HatfieldMcCoy on April 15, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Wouldn’t want to cloud the issue with reading the thread would you?

The law is all about precedent. If we say he has been a model citizens so we’ll just forget about that armed robbery and let him walk we set a precedent. The next guy comes along and figures ‘Hey, if I avoid the law long enough and don’t get nailed again in the meantime, my attorney can get me off by citing this precedent.’

Why bother to have a law at all? Even one forbidding armed robbery?

If you’d have kept reading the thread, you’d have realized there’s a big difference between just vacating the judgement, commuting his sentence, and just letting him off the hook.

Reconsidering his sentence and giving him a short jail sentence and community service during parole serves both justice and the community.

It’s ironic, indeed, that you mentioned illegal aliens. What sort of consideration of the law do you suppose their supporters are arguing?

thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 11:20 PM

Seems to me he’s basically been on probation — or is that a suspended sentence — for about 13 years. Of course, there’s no room for prosecutorial discretion, since he’s already been convicted. And it’s far too late for a plea bargain.

This seems like a textbook example for a governor’s power to commute a sentence. Commute to time served, apply a period of probation.

Would that be justice? No, not really. He did do a crime, and has not really had to pay for it.

But we see worse examples of injustice every day. Convicted criminals are given probation or let out early for ‘good behavior’ all the time.

There Goes the Neighborhood on April 15, 2014 at 11:22 PM

If you can grant a man who was involved in an armed robbery amnesty, why not all illegal aliens who didn’t commit similar crimes?

The guy should do his time or y’all be racist.

El_Terrible on April 15, 2014 at 11:25 PM

But part of a prison sentence is simply punitive. Should Anderson have to pay that debt regardless of his status as a stand-up citizen?

…i’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re being sardonic, but you’re making it rather difficult!

the punition obsession of the modern “justice” system serves absolutely no beneficial purpose whatsoever! while the deterrent effects of the penal code are and important pillar of our still-diseased society, the point of the judicial system should never be seen as punishment.

while it’s difficult to speak about “ideal justice” in the current rather archaic paradigm, we as a society should be focussed on our mutual best interest. how can anyone think it’s in our mutual best interest to lock up a business-owning family man — a productive citizen of society by all measures — at taxpayer expense for a youthful indiscretion that he has obviously outgrown?

we’ll not only deprive the state of his business’ income, but put the taxpayer on the hook for the cost of his incarceration and the social benefits that his family will surely need, having lost their provider…and possibly make antisocial criminals out of him and his children in the process?

of course, the obsession with punition is rooted in the christian religion: a lifelong exposure to, and eventual intellectual purchase into, the sadistic myth of eternal, inescapable punishment seems to have fetishsed the idea of “extractive justice” in the minds of those who have been unwilling or unable to cast off the shackles of a pernicious mythology. surely jesus, who decried the vengeance of retributive justice as codified in torah, would find no redemption in the locking up of a productive and clearly reformed participant in society.

indeed, the aforesaid deterrent effects are hardly cogent to this farcical situation in the first place: instead of serving as a warning against wrongdoing, of course this individual will, hardly inaccurately, be held as a martyred victim of buffoonish state incompetence by those most at risk for seduction by criminal temptations.

far better to let him serve as an example of the reward of rehabilitation — a shining exemplar of the relative benefits of social integration illuminating the stark contract between true reformation and simply “doing the time” only to return to a criminal lifestyle once the penalty has been payed in full.

surely we can all agree that there is no benefit to be had in spending money and ruining lives to “punish” a man who mad a youthful mistake over a decade ago only to transform himself into a model citizen and father.

jaxisaneurophysicist on April 15, 2014 at 10:11 PM

You make a powerful argument … for throwing him in jail. I realize that’s not what you were going for, but your whole comment shows a near-sociopathic disregard for morality. If men were angels, punishment would not be necessary. We are not, and it is.

There Goes the Neighborhood on April 15, 2014 at 11:29 PM

of [sic] course, the obsession with punition is rooted in the christian religion:

jaxisaneurophysicist

Yeah, I’m pretty sure the concept of punishment for wrongdoing has been around a little longer than Christianity.

xblade on April 15, 2014 at 10:34 PM

When Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on the island of Melita, he managed to get bit by a poisonous snake. The reaction of the people there — who were NOT Christians — illustrates the point perfectly.

Acts 28:4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

It’s almost like some people have never even heard of poetic justice.

There Goes the Neighborhood on April 15, 2014 at 11:34 PM

Please do not send this man to prison.

dpduq on April 16, 2014 at 12:22 AM

If I were King, I would,

Let him go free, have him serve 40 hours of CS plus 1 year probation.

Wallythedog on April 16, 2014 at 12:36 AM

If you can grant a man who was involved in an armed robbery amnesty, why not all illegal aliens who didn’t commit similar crimes?
The guy should do his time or y’all be racist.
El_Terrible on April 15, 2014 at 11:25 PM

Illegal aliens, every single one I’ve seen file a return (which is the vast majority of them), pillage our tax system, destroy the credit of honest Americans by ditching bills bills in someone else’s name, and feel entitled to their stolen money. They take jobs from honest Americans (and don’t give me that crap about “jobs Americans won’t do”; go watch a few episodes of Dirty Jobs and savor that crow), deal drugs, burglarize, vandalize, and destroy private property in the process of crossing the border. They pay coyotes who work for the cartels to bring them in, financing violent gangs that have turned our southern border into an undeclared war zone.

And to top all of that off, they have these attitudes that somehow, we owe them. For “stealing [their] land/jobs/whatever”, they are somehow entitled to everything they steal from our country in blood and treasure.

A guy who actually repaid his community in deeds is nothing like the filthy scum you compare him to. 13 years ago, he was, but that’s not the man they’re putting in prison.

Asurea on April 16, 2014 at 12:39 AM

I’d be amenable to renegotiating his sentence based on no further convictions since the last one, but not commuting the entire sentence.
thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:40 PM

What do you say to the Old Testament notion of sanctuary cities where a citizen could escape to to hide from manslaughter provided the beat the pursuers to it? That’s one thing that disturbs me about our interconnected world that renders sanctuary and statutes of limitations moot. And I’m not condoning sanctuary for illegal aliens.

In this case, the guy lived everyday wondering if it would be his last day of freedom. I say pardon him.

AH_C on April 16, 2014 at 1:10 AM

He has effectively been on probation all of this time without any violations. In fact, he saved the state money by not being formally supervised by a probation officer who was free to supervise someone else who likely needed it more. I think the article says his original term would have been 13 years. If so, he should be released and subject to no further conditions. P.S. – - this is coming from a 26 1/2 year Deputy Prosecuting Attorney who is absolutely not a bleeding heart liberal.

Lammo on April 16, 2014 at 2:09 AM

Had he been jailed 13 years ago, he most likely wouldn’t be the productive, family man he is today. Put him in jail now for the full stretch and he may come out being the person that committed the crime 13 years ago.

Considering that the victim apparently feels compensated by seeing Anderson’s life was well led, this seems more like vengeance than justice. Community service would appear to be the logical solution for the victim, the community he’ll service, the business that he won’t lose he and his family.

AppraisHer on April 16, 2014 at 2:10 AM

His sentence should be reduced to time served.

I don’t care what he did. I care what he’s going to do in the future. So far, he’s proven that his future acts are likely to be decent. I see no reason that the taxpayers should be burdened with the cost of his incarceration.

leereyno on April 16, 2014 at 5:19 AM

He committed a crime, armed robbery, was tried, found guilty, and was sentenced.
He knew he was supposed to serve his sentence all these years. He knew he only owed his freedom to sheer luck, an error, he exploited it, and he knew his luck could run out someday.
It’s run out. The state has ‘come for him’.
Time to do the time.
thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

I agree.

Lock him up!

bluegill on April 16, 2014 at 5:56 AM

If we were a nation of laws, then he should be incarcerated to serve the remainder of his sentence.

But we’re really not that anymore, are we?

BigAlSouth on April 16, 2014 at 6:07 AM

Bottom line, he turned his life around and added value to the community and provided new, apparantly law abiding, members for the support of society as life continues. This man has done what we all should do, put more back than we take as we live life.

Jail him, absolutly not!
Parole or clemency – yes
Modified sentence requiring no further time served but probation – yes

These are the only options I can accept as fair given even the “victim” seeks no further justice in this event. The man is not a danger to society therefor no longer a threat to the state.

Skwor on April 16, 2014 at 7:14 AM

He committed a crime, armed robbery, was tried, found guilty, and was sentenced.
He knew he was supposed to serve his sentence all these years. He knew he only owed his freedom to sheer luck, an error, he exploited it, and he knew his luck could run out someday.
It’s run out. The state has ‘come for him’.
Time to do the time.
thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

I agree.

Lock him up!

bluegill on April 16, 2014 at 5:56 AM

You are nearly as evil and he was when he robbed the Burger King. Neither above are seeking justice but instead seeking revenge. The victim feels righted and does not seek for this man to be incarcerated, the state has no interest in public protection as the convicted has shown they are now NOT a threat to society and have learned to live in society, which by the way are key factors in parole hearings. He easily quailfies for parole not be judgment but by proof of his acts and yet you seek to punish? This serves to only destroy a family of inocents to satiate your thirst for blind vengence.

“Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.”
St. Thomas

Skwor on April 16, 2014 at 7:25 AM

He committed a crime, armed robbery, was tried, found guilty, and was sentenced.

He knew he was supposed to serve his sentence all these years. He knew he only owed his freedom to sheer luck, an error, he exploited it, and he knew his luck could run out someday.

It’s run out. The state has ‘come for him’.

Time to do the time.

thatsafactjack on April 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Unless the statute of limitations has passed, I agree 100% with you. Armed robbery is not a petty crime. And I suspect there is much more to this story than what is being relayed thus far.

zoyclem on April 16, 2014 at 7:40 AM

You are nearly as evil and he was when he robbed the Burger King. Neither above are seeking justice but instead seeking revenge. The victim feels righted and does not seek for this man to be incarcerated, the state has no interest in public protection as the convicted has shown they are now NOT a threat to society and have learned to live in society, which by the way are key factors in parole hearings. He easily quailfies for parole not be judgment but by proof of his acts and yet you seek to punish? This serves to only destroy a family of inocents to satiate your thirst for blind vengence.

“Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.”
St. Thomas

Skwor on April 16, 2014 at 7:25 AM

You are deranged. The man committed armed robbery. What is evil about seeing justice carried out?

zoyclem on April 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Two conflicting policies: 1) commit the crime, get convicted and do the time vs. 2) after conviction, the guy played by the rules acting in good faith on legal advice, and was, in fact, rehabilitated.

This is probably a case where the larger interest of justice is best served by being tempered with mercy, perhaps a combination of him being on probation for a number of years which would make his continued freedom a matter of his continued good behavior, with some sort of restitution and/or community service. Successful completion of probation and restitution/community service might well suggest a pardon, but that’s open.

CatoRenasci on April 16, 2014 at 8:13 AM

I would assume this is why a Governor has the power to grant a pardon.

sharrukin on April 15, 2014 at 9:20 PM

^^THIS^^

Then you find out who committed this screwup and make him serve the sentence. (No, not really, but you let that hang in the air while you arrange to fire/discipline them.)

Skwor on April 16, 2014 at 7:25 AM

No, not vengeance, justice. Justice says that he must serve the time because he was convicted and sentenced. However, this sort of thing is why the pardon power exists. Because even a good government weilding the sword properly for justice can screw up. Letting him go because it’s been 13 years would be a travesty of justice. Pardoning him leaves in place the justice but removes its sting.

I’m not arguing for mercy – the justice system should have no mercy. It should execute justice without partiality. Period. But, the executive is allowed this one “regal” power for exactly this sort of thing.

GWB on April 16, 2014 at 8:45 AM

You are deranged. The man committed armed robbery. What is evil about seeing justice carried out?

zoyclem on April 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM

So in your world mercy has no place in justice which is exactly what I am talking about. Yes, that is seeking revenge and not justice when mercy is cast aside.

I never dismissed his criminal. How many good men have suffered and even died and never were reconciled their righteousness? We cannot go back and undo such things. We now have a chance and the benefit of reviewing a man’s actions compared to his past transgressions and you would have us mercilessly impose a punishment on him, which will cause harm to innocent children and a woman, increase a burden on society and does not align with the “victim’s” need for justice, in fact is opposes the “victim’s” desired will.

What he did was wrong but to be cliché’ two wrongs do not make a right.

Skwor on April 16, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Thinking about the argument that “he didn’t pay any penalty for his crime…”

The article says he waited, and waited, and waited, and waited… for the state to come pick him up. I can’t help wondering if, spending those years wondering when – and if – the other shoe was going to drop, and knowing that it could anytime someone discovered the error, might be sufficient penalty after all this time.

Yes, he committed a crime. But the guy turned his life around, so the rehabilitation part definitely worked out (as mentioned). And the state screwed up. That, with the constant concern that at any moment he might get a knock on the door and lose every good thing he’d built since…. to me, that’s sufficient.

psrch on April 16, 2014 at 9:05 AM

No, not vengeance, justice. Justice says that he must serve the time because he was convicted and sentenced

You are confusing law with justice, the law says he must serve that sentence not justice.

Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, equity and fairness.

Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behaviour.

I’m not arguing for mercy – the justice system should have no mercy. It should execute justice without partiality. Period. But, the executive is allowed this one “regal” power for exactly this sort of thing.

GWB on April 16, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Wow are you serious? It is this line of thought that has a 9 year old’s hand cut of for stealing a loaf of bread when he was hungry.
Really justice without mercy? Do you even begin to understand how cold and cruel a system like that is?

Skwor on April 16, 2014 at 9:06 AM

Governor needs to commute his sentence to time served and let him get on with being a productive citizen and family man.

deepdiver on April 16, 2014 at 9:08 AM

It seems to me that this man has done what the penal system and the government all too often fail to do. He has rehabilitated himself, by himself, without the state spending dime one towards that effort. Seems to me that they should tap that man’s brain and use his experience in their quest in rehabilitating other youthful offenders. Towards what purpose other than vengeance would incarcerating him do now? What would be the impact on his family? On his employer? Or most of all, on him?

I say leave that family alone.

bimmcorp on April 16, 2014 at 9:29 AM

It’s rare but not unheard of. We have an Executive branch with the ability to deal with this. What is going on is a CYA of State employees. He embarrassed the State. That is far worse than the actual crime. Let him go.

CW20 on April 16, 2014 at 9:32 AM

It’s a Catch-22 situation, folks:

Eligibility Criteria

Individuals who are confined to a prison or jail are eligible to petition the Governor for clemency. Individuals who are not confined must meet the following minimum criteria to be eligible to petition the Governor for clemency.

The applicant is required to have been fully discharged for three years from incarceration and/or probation or parole supervision.
The applicant must not have received a conviction within the three-year period immediately prior to the application for Executive Clemency. (Convictions for minor traffic offenses will not be considered.)
The applicant cannot have any charges pending at the time of the application.
The applicant cannot have been denied an Executive Clemency within the past three years.
Probation judgments in which imposition of sentence was suspended are not eligible for Executive Clemency except in cases where a punitive collateral consequence attaches.

http://doc.mo.gov/PP/Executive_Clemency.php

To get clemency, he has to go to jail, if my reading of the above is correct.

ebrown2 on April 16, 2014 at 9:43 AM

So in your world mercy has no place in justice which is exactly what I am talking about. Yes, that is seeking revenge and not justice when mercy is cast aside.

Skwor on April 16, 2014 at 9:01 AM

No, it is not. Justice does not involve mercy. Period.

You are confusing law with justice, the law says he must serve that sentence not justice.

Skwor on April 16, 2014 at 9:06 AM

No. Justice says that he committed the crime and he should pay the consequence for it. He did not.

Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, equity and fairness.

No.

Since you’ve posted about God and Scripture, I will challenge you to find where justice is merciful therein. God constantly refers to justice as “the sword” that is in the hand of the king or government. Mercy is something to be practiced, but it is not part of justice. Make sure you’re reading about the government, btw, and not about individuals.

Wow are you serious? It is this line of thought that has a 9 year old’s hand cut of for stealing a loaf of bread when he was hungry.

Yes, I am serious. And, if it were justice to cut off the hand of a thief, then it wouldn’t matter if it were a 9yo or a 90yo, if they could rationally understand that what they were doing was wrong. Nice use of the strawman of unjust punishment to try and accuse me of being evil, though.

Really justice without mercy? Do you even begin to understand how cold and cruel a system like that is?

The law isn’t supposed to be warm and fuzzy. Justice should be clear and unequivocal. There should not be gray areas within the law – there really aren’t within the realm of “justice”, either. Take a look around at the current system and – if you can honestly evaluate it – tell me if mixing mercy and justice has served anyone well these last 50 years? The government can’t and shouldn’t care about you. Its goal should be justice, period.

Oh, “mercy” on the part of those dealing justice also leads to favoritism (because of the broken human hearts invovled) which is very clearly forbidden when serving out justice.

GWB on April 16, 2014 at 9:53 AM

GWB on April 16, 2014 at 9:53 AM

And I am grateful that you are not a judge.

bimmcorp on April 16, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Since there is a statue of limitations on every crime but murder then that should go for “clerical” errors. Leave this man and his family alone.

Cindy Munford on April 16, 2014 at 10:19 AM

I have to say, I am disappointed with lack of humility shown by some posters. While I also think of myself as a law and order type, I cannot understand the need of some to see this man brought down.

I agree that to some extent, justice is not being completely served if he is allowed to go completely free. But the situation when he was sentenced is completely different now. Sending him to jail punishes not only himself, but his wife and children and the community as a whole. The family loses the husband and father, and the community loses a productive member. And you can’t say he should have thought of that before he committed the crime because it wasn’t there to think about yet.

And does this incredible event really affect the criminals view of what he risks in committing a crime? I doubt it. I mean really: OK I rob this guy and might have to spend time in jail. But maybe I’ll luck out that that other guy and they will forget about me until I turn my life around and then feel bad about sending me up.

Get real.

I personally think that simple probation would be a bit too lenient. I think he should be required to do some sort of community service also. But society as a whole will suffer sending to man to prison at this point. So unless you like biblical justice in the form of “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” there is no reason to destroy this family. Over a crime long since past.

OBQuiet on April 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Asurea on April 15, 2014 at 10:59 PM

How can you be so insightful and yet still work at the IRS? (just teasing)

Nutstuyu on April 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM

I should add that I think that the law is the law and should be followed. I do not like the idea of jury nullification or even insanity pleas. I think that is the reason we give the chief execution the power to pardon. When the law is not providing justice, they can then step in but in doing so, they have to accept the political cost.

OBQuiet on April 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Is there someplace we can write? I’m not a citizen of that state but just like Mr. Bundy’s ranch, I wouldn’t mind taking a stand on the stupidity of the government.

Cindy Munford on April 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM

And I am grateful that you are not a judge.

bimmcorp on April 16, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Why? Because you want the judge to feel for the defendant and to hand out sentences based on the sob stories told? No, I want simple justice done.

If you want mercy, it resides in the “regal” pardon power allotted to the executive branch in our system. It should reside nowhere else.

OBQuiet on April 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Justice delayed must still be justice. However, that is – again – what the pardon power is for. I don’t believe re-sentencing would accomplish justice.

He should have been arrested (criminy, they shouldn’t need a SWAT team for this), then the judge posted a very low bond (he wasn’t a flight risk for 15 years). Once he’s out, he can begin the process for a commutation of his sentence or a pardon. But, he should still be held accountable for his sentence until such time as a commutation or pardon takes place.

BTW:
One of the reasons that the pardon power resides in the executive (and why there should be no mercy within the judicial branch, merely strict justice) is because the executive branch is directly accountable to the people. If the governor fails to pardon this man and he has to go to jail for 13 years, the people can immediately begin to use their political power to punish him. The people should NOT be able to use their political power to sway the determination of justice in the prosecution of the law. That should be immune to the “whims of the people”. (To argue with Skwor’s method: What, are you arguing for vigilante justice? That the mob ought to determine what happens to someone when they are percieved as having committed a crime?)

That’s one of the great injustices in the Prop 8 fiasco – the justice system was subverted to a political end.

GWB on April 16, 2014 at 10:52 AM

OBQuiet on April 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Heh, I should have hit refresh before I posted. :)

GWB on April 16, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Is the point of our criminal justice system to make The State whole, or to make victims whole and reform criminals?

Answer that question and you’ll answer the question in the headline.

Texas Zombie on April 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Meow

Bmore on April 16, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Is the point of our criminal justice system to make The State whole, or to make victims whole and reform criminals?

Answer that question and you’ll answer the question in the headline.

Texas Zombie on April 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Neither. The point of our system should be to mete out justice. It should do so in a way that makes victims whole (where it can), but that should not be the primary purpose.

GWB on April 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM

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