AG Chris Koster Files to Deny Release of "Mike" Anderson But Suggests Path to Parole
Koster cites a past case in Cole County (also involving an "Anderson," bizarrely enough) wherein an inmate was erroneously released on an appellate bond and then was re-arrested after some time free. The inmate argued he should be credited for the time he was out erroneously, because it wasn't his fault he was improperly released. The trial court in that case granted he should get credit for that time.
Anderson is in the wrong form of action and the wrong venue for the relief granted in Anderson v. Crawford. Rule 91 habeas corpus actions are generally limited to suit seeking immediate discharge from confinement, and the director of a department may only be sued in Cole County. But if Anderson re-files this matter as a declaratory judgment action and names the Director [of the Missouri Department of Corrections] as the defendant, the Director consents to the venue in this Court. If this Court accepts the facts as set out in this pleading, the Director takes no position on whether this Court should declare Anderson entitled to credit on his sentence from the time the opinion issues in his direct appeal. If the Court grants time served from the issuance of the opinion in 2002, Anderson would have served his 11.5-year mandatory-minimum prison term under Mo. Rev. Stat. 558.019 and 571.015 and be immediately eligible for parole consideration.
That sounds awfully promising -- but it also means the decision to credit Anderson with the time he was out improperly is now up to Judge T. Lynn Brown of Mississippi County. And even if Anderson is given credit for 11.5 years, he will then be at the mercy of the parole board, which Koster acknowledges has "almost unlimited discretion."
We've reached out to Anderson's attorney to see what he makes of this, and we'll update when we hear back.
Meanwhile, the story has been featured on several national television news shows, including the TODAY Show and CBS News, and a petition asking for Anderson's release has surpassed 20,000 signatures.