Mike Anderson Officially Asks Gov. Jay Nixon for Clemency, Rebuts AG Chris Koster

cornealious_mike_anderson_jay_nixon.jpg
Courtesy LaQonna Anderson/Office of the Governor
Mike Anderson and Governor Jay Nixon.

Through his attorney, Cornealious "Mike" Anderson III filed a petition yesterday asking Governor Jay Nixon to grant him clemency or commute his prison sentence of thirteen years. Anderson is asking for relief given the fact that a clerical error prevented the state of Missouri from incarcerating him for a burglary he was convicted of back in 2000. He was finally arrested this past July (Riverfront Times broke the story in September 2013).

"My client is a beloved father of 4 beautiful young children, a husband to a devoted wife, and a well-respected small business man in St. Louis," writes Anderson's lawyer, Patrick Michael Megaro. "In the past 13 years, he has committed himself to being a productive and valuable member of society, and has proven that not only is he no danger to the community, but is a pillar of the community."

Megaro also filed an answer to Attorney General Chris Koster yesterday, harshly rebutting the AG's claim that Anderson is responsible for his situation. We spoke with Megaro to better understand Anderson's chances of receiving credit for time served or parole. The answers, like everything in this case, are complicated.

If you're unfamiliar with the saga, check out some of our previous coverage to get up to speed:

-- Original feature story
-- Cornealious "Mike" Anderson: An Epilogue to the RFT Story Featured On This American Life
-- Petition Asks MO Attorney General Chris Koster to Release Cornealious "Mike" Anderson

Executive clemency is the clearest path Anderson has to going home, and it may also be the longest shot. Nixon has only used this power once. By contrast, governors in other states commute sentences by the hundreds.

The other attempt Anderson is making is a writ of habeas corpus, filed against the warden of the Southeast Correctional Center where he's presently incarcerated. The warden is represented by the state, i.e. Koster. Megaro is arguing that incarcerating Anderson now is cruel and unusual punishment, and that when the state forgot about him, they forfeited their right to hold him under due process. On Monday Koster responded, saying that Anderson is at fault for not reporting himself and the judge should deny his release. Megaro filed his response to that late yesterday.

"The conditions of the bond imposed no duty whatsoever upon Petitioner other than to return to court when ordered to do so, and stay out of trouble. He fully satisfied the conditions of his bond," Megaro writes. "The record conclusively establishes by incontrovertible documentary evidence that Cornealious Michael Anderson III never hid the fact he was out on bail."

Megaro says that he spoke to Koster before the AG filed his response on Monday urging that Anderson not be released. Megaro says he believes Koster is taking this position "grudgingly."

"I got the distinct impression that as a human being he does not believe Mike should be in prison. That being said, he has a job to do," says Megaro. "He has a duty as a lawyer to do what his client wants him to do. You have to advocate positions you may not personally agree with."

Megaro says they also discussed the door Koster seems to have propped open for Anderson to be eligible for parole. In his response on Monday, Koster wrote that potentially, Anderson could sue the director of the corrections system asking that his 11.5 years free be counted as "time served" because he was out erroneously. If that happened, he'd be up for parole immediately. Initially, this seemed like hopeful news.

"It's not a legally viable option. I looked into the case law," says Megaro. "He was not erroneously released, he was properly released...everyone is trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole."

In his filing, Megaro counters that the judge could achieve the "functional equivalent" of what Koster is suggesting by granting the writ of habeas corpus -- but under the condition that Anderson get credit for 11.5 years as time served. He could not simply go home. After that, his fate would be up to the powerful and independent parole board.

Asked for response to Megaro's latest filing, Koster's spokesman sent Daily RFT this statement:

My goal is to suggest a way for the court to appropriately balance the seriousness of Mr. Anderson's crime with the clerical error made by the criminal justice system, alongside Mr. Anderson's conduct since his commission of the crime. All three factors deserve recognition in resolving this difficult situation. -- AG Koster

Then again, Megaro points out, now that the petition for clemency is filed, Nixon could simply commute the sentence.

"That may be the face-saving measure," he says. "All I have to do is convince the governor."

Read Megaro's full response below and beneath that the petition for clemency (with personal information and names of references redacted):

Anderson, Cornealious - Reply to Chris Koster

Cornealious Michael Anderson III petition for clemency Jay Nixon

Follow Jessica Lussenhop on Twitter at @Lussenpop. E-mail the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.

My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
marcell_vega
marcell_vega

Prison sadly is for rehabilitation, but are prison systems only make convicts worse than before they go in.  Prison is place for criminals to enhance their skills of deception and violence.  This man robbed a Burger King manager for $2000.00 with a BB pistol and was out on Bond during his trial.  Being on Bond means he poses no danger to others or a flight risk during the duration of his trial.  He was convicted and sentenced, now in any other case the defendants are either taken in custody during sentences or the sheriffs come and pick you up from home with a few days to start your sentence.  Now @ Justin Barnett, some people react differently to armed robbery, it is a scary situation to be in, I have been in the situation twice.  I don't think this man who served 13 years outside of prison changing his views and living a law abiding life should be sentenced to prison.  No once was harmed during the robbery, except for the amount of money that was stolen.  As for the Manager who states he is traumatized from the robbery, he really needs to get a handle on life b/c it gets a lot harder than that.  I was robbed with a Screwdriver in my neck at 12 years old by a grown man for my leather jacket, Im still the same and trauma free. 

Jason Steinkamp
Jason Steinkamp

They finally caught up with your ass, Mike Anderson!

Scott Smith
Scott Smith

If you took the time to read and research instead of running your ignorant mouth, you'd know the victim has also come forward and said that he thinks he should be released and that it's the governments fault, not Mr. Anderson's.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

Oh officer, he's a good man. Don't send him to jail. He didn't mean to hit me. He found Jesus.

Scott Smith
Scott Smith

You're an idiot. The point of jail is rehabilitation. He's turned his life around. Jail will only make things worse.

Justin Burnett
Justin Burnett

IT WAS AN ARMED ROBBERY YOU DUMB SHITS..... Not like he sold weed or something. HE SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF SOMEONE TRAUMATIZING THEM WITH A WEAPON. I don't care if he works for Jesus Christ, do your time and stop crying like a bitch. It takes a real chump to rob people with a weapon. Pardoned Teresa Marcy Katubig??? WOW..... Why don't you ask the person he robbed and scared the shit out of if he should be pardoned. Its obvious to me that you've never had a gun pulled on you. Let's hold a knife to your throat, sent if you wanna give out a pardon after that.

Eva Dee Dorene Goss
Eva Dee Dorene Goss

He's already corrected his life...putting him in jail now is only going to prove the corrections system is broken.

Joe Bochantin
Joe Bochantin

the system may have screwed up, but even jesus lost his temper. so no one is perfect. with that being said, he burgarlized. took something from someone that wasn't his. He needs to pay the price and do some time.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

I'm glad all you bleeding hearts never heard the saying, don't do the crime, unless you can do the time. He robbed someone at gunpoint.

Josh Revelle
Josh Revelle

The justice system screwed up. This man has obviously changed his ways. Let him live his life.

Meg Boyle Langa
Meg Boyle Langa

No jail. Restitution via probation. Let him go back to his family. He is rehabilitated but needs to repay

Darren Hunt
Darren Hunt

Dont trust no one not even the st of mo.they f u. error cost him alot not fair to him & his fam sad missouri sucks if his happen in 2000 he need community svs no jail

Edward Hecker
Edward Hecker

So, let's scrap legal logic for a sec, hash this through common logic. The guy is as good as rehabilitated, but didn't serve a penalty because the justice system screwed up. I'm thinking a penalty needs to be assessed on the person who dropped the ball in the justice system, and the offender should be given a good conduct pass or at most be required to pay back or replace the value of goods stolen.

Michael Heermann
Michael Heermann

I say that just because he left the Missouri basketball program to coach Arkansas, while offensive, should not be punishable by serving time

Michelle Volansky
Michelle Volansky

This story breaks my heart and challenges our ideas of what the purpose of incarceration really is. To throw him in jail at this point would be an embarrassing misuse of justice.

Julie Case
Julie Case

This man has clearly changed his life. Give him community service and save his cell for someone who is a violent threat to society.

corinne.denoon
corinne.denoon

The man he robbed has stated that he believes Mr. Anderson should be set free. So there you have it. If you don't believe me, do a little investigating. Numerous news articles will support my statement.


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