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I-A-B You Be The Judge: Lock Up Or Let Go? [Poll]

I-A-B You Be The Judge: Lock “Em Up Or Let “Em Go?

Declare your sentence at the bottom of the page!

Photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections shows Cornealious Anderson.

After he was convicted of armed robbery in 2000, Cornealious Anderson was sentenced to 13 years behind bars and told to await instructions on when and where to report to prison. But those instructions never came.

So Anderson didn”t report. He spent the next 13 years turning his life around – getting married, raising three kids, learning a trade. He made no effort to conceal his identity or whereabouts. Anderson paid taxes and traffic tickets, renewed his driver”s license and registered his businesses.

Not until last year did the Missouri Department of Corrections discover the clerical error that kept him free. Now he”s fighting for release, saying authorities missed their chance to incarcerate him.

In a single day last July, Anderson”s life was turned upside-down.

“They sent a SWAT team to his house,” Anderson”s attorney, Patrick Megaro, said Wednesday. “He was getting his 3-year-old daughter breakfast, and these men with automatic weapons bang on his door.”

Anderson, 37, was taken to Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston, Mo., to begin serving the sentence. He is 9 months into that sentence. A court appeal filed in February asks for him to be freed.

Anderson had just one arrest for marijuana possession on his record when he and a cousin robbed an assistant manager for a St. Charles Burger King restaurant on Aug. 15, 1999. The men, wearing masks, showed a gun (it turned out to be a BB gun) and demanded money that was about to be placed in a deposit box.

The worker gave up the bag of cash, and the masked men drove away. The worker turned in the car”s license plate number.

Anderson was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison and waited for word on what to do next.

His attorney told him, “Listen, they”re going to get you some day, so just wait for the order,” Megaro said. As time goes by, the order never comes. What does a normal person believe? Maybe they forgot about it. It”s only human nature to hope they just let it go. He really didn”t know what to do.

“A year goes by, two years, five years, 10 years. He”s thinking, I guess they don”t care about me anymore,” Megaro said.

So Anderson went about his life. Megaro said he was not a fugitive, was never on the run. In fact, just the opposite.

Megaro described Anderson as a model citizen – a married father who became a carpenter and started three businesses. He paid income and property taxes and kept a driver”s license showing his true name and address. When he was pulled over for a couple of traffic violations, nothing showed up indicating he should be in prison.

That”s why Anderson was shocked when the marshals arrived.

He now lives among the general population at Charleston. Megaro said Anderson is holding his own – barely.

“He”s doing his best to keep his spirits up,” Megaro said. “Each day that goes by, more hope is lost. It”s a daily struggle for him.”

Peter Joy, director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, said it isn”t unusual in a country with such a high prison population for sentences to fall through the cracks. What is unusual, Joy said, is for it to go unnoticed for so long.

“The real tragedy here is that one aspect of prison is the idea of rehabilitation,” Joy said. “Here we have somebody who has led a perfect life for 13 years. He did everything right. So he doesn”t need rehabilitation.”

What happens next isn”t clear. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on Tuesday filed a court response that said the state is justified in making Anderson serve the sentence.

However, Koster wrote that Megaro could refile the case as an action against the director of the Department of Corrections, which could give Anderson credit for the time he was technically at large.

Megaro doubted that strategy would work. He said the law does not allow credit for time served when the convicted person was not behind bars.

“I don”t think that”s an option, unfortunately,” Megaro said.

Instead, he”s relying on case law. The last time anything like this happened in Missouri was 1912. In that case, the convicted man was set free, Megaro said.

Gov. Jay Nixon could also commute the sentence. A spokesman for Nixon declined to comment.

So I-A-B should Anderson serve his 13 year sentence or should he be set free? You are the judge! Vote below.

This man was sentenced to 13 yrs in prison. He never went because of a clerical error. Lock “em up or let “em go I-A-B?

[Total: 16    Average: 3.9/5]
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Category: Quizzes
Date: 04/17/14 09:54 AM

42 Responses to I-A-B You Be The Judge: Lock Up Or Let Go? [Poll]

  1. Profile photo of kitteh9lives
    kitteh9lives Female 70 & Over
    8012 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 7:49 am
    Link: I-A-B You Be The Judge: Lock Up Or Let Go? - This man was sentenced to 13 yrs in prison. He never went because of a clerical error. Lock `em up or let `em go I-A-B?
  2. Profile photo of DavidXJ
    DavidXJ Male 30-39
    1103 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:10 am
    There`s a statute of limitations on being arrested for most crimes, there should be a statute of limitations on the carrying out of the sentence for the same crimes.
  3. Profile photo of DuckBoy87
    DuckBoy87 Male 18-29
    3074 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:11 am
    The statute of limitations has surely passed by now.
  4. Profile photo of normalfreak2
    normalfreak2 Male 18-29
    3033 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:16 am
    The state drated this up. This guy, from the looks of it, learned a serious lesson from the conviction alone. He started his own business, a family, to be a productive member of society, why take that away from him?
  5. Profile photo of nettech98
    nettech98 Male 50-59
    1039 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:18 am
    How about a third option?

    I don`t believe he should have to serve the whole 13 year sentence. No legal basis for that, just my opinion.

    But I don`t necessarily believe he should not somehow pay for the crime he was convicted of.

    I believe he should have his day in court where legal, moral, and mitigating arguments can be explored. He may very well get a drastically reduced sentence based on the mitigating factors, a pardon, or a commutation of his sentence.

    The statement by the victim might have some weight, but it`s certainly not up to him.

    Also, prison is for punishment - not rehabilitation.
  6. Profile photo of normalfreak2
    normalfreak2 Male 18-29
    3033 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:18 am
    Putting him in Jail would only cause a cycle of crime to start in his family again. The breadwinner goes to jail, Mother can`t afford anything, needs to go on welfare, kid may get into a gang. THere`s no reason to send this guy to prison. No one was hurt in the initial crime. We really need to address how we handle non-violent offenses and sentencing kids. I`m sorry, Unless you cause someone great harm, (murder, rape, Child abuse, etc) the first option shouldn`t be prison.
  7. Profile photo of normalfreak2
    normalfreak2 Male 18-29
    3033 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:19 am
    "Also, prison is for punishment - not rehabilitation."

    Biggest problem right there.
  8. Profile photo of 42467
    42467 Male 18-29
    745 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:30 am
    You said prison is for punishment, not rehabilitation. You`re right, in the US, it`s like that. But that`s also why we have the highest crime reccurence rate in the world.

    Maybe we should start to think about helping the prisoner not need to go back to crime?
  9. Profile photo of Grendel
    Grendel Male 40-49
    5622 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:34 am
    DuckBoy87-The statute of limitations has surely passed by now.
    The statute of limitations sets the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated.

    The proceedings were initiated in time, so the sentence is valid. There is no statute on sentancing being carried out.

    So, the state is within its rights to enforce said sentence. BUT, I would like to see some common sense thrown in and his behavior since be taken into account.

    This goes back to: if you find out after 13 years that the government owes you money, you want them to pay up...BUT if they find out after 13 years that YOU owe the want them to forget about it.
  10. Profile photo of Mikeoxsbiggg
    Mikeoxsbiggg Male 30-39
    1503 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:38 am
    The state`s mistake 100% He should walk away as free as he was last month. If he was a criminal still and if it was an indictable or violent act perhaps something to consider.
  11. Profile photo of noblewolf
    noblewolf Male 40-49
    31 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:59 am
    I would ask for another sentencing trial since the first one was never carried out correctly. That is what he has a lawyer for.
  12. Profile photo of pazerlenis
    pazerlenis Male 40-49
    1375 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 11:01 am
    The right thing to do would be to take the unique circumstances into account and evaluate his current risk to society. If someone needs to go to jail over this, they should look into who failed to send the instructions.

    What will really happen is he will go to jail for it because of the politics and ego involved, but will be released early (maybe after a couple of years) for good behavior.
  13. Profile photo of broizfam
    broizfam Male 60-69
    4652 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 11:17 am
    He did as he was told. He made a good, law abiding (as far as we know) life for himself. He`s done better for himself and society than the jail time would have. He deserved punishment then. Doesn`t anymore. Send him home.
  14. Profile photo of chicagojay
    chicagojay Male 40-49
    2018 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 11:19 am
    Dont do the crime if you can`t do the time.
  15. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 11:30 am
    He committed a crime, broke the law, and stole money. That was a conscious decision on his part, one he should be punished for. The time it took for proceedings to being is irrelevant to that point.

    That being said it was the states fault for not prosecuting him, and it`s his attorney`s fault for not following up on it. As an attorney he is the legal advisor. To simply say "they`ll come for you on day" is not a legal defence nor is it appropriate for his position.

    The fact that he has not gotten in to trouble for the past 10 years is also to his credit. But how clean is a matter of interpretation, not getting caught is not the same thing as a turnaround and I don`t trust his lawyer to give an unbiased account.

    If I were the judge, I would commute his sentence to maybe some light community service, and a couple of years of probation. But either way I would not sentence him to jail.
  16. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 11:31 am
    He`ll be out too quickly and the appeals will cost too much money for any prison sentence to be effective or in the publics interest. Therefore I vote no, but I would not say he has a clear name.
  17. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17516 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 11:36 am
    Unfortunately there is no 3rd option in this poll.

    Preferably, he should be put on probation and made to report like every other convict. He should also have his freedoms limited, as other felons do. Other than that, let him go back home.
  18. Profile photo of greggas
    greggas Male 40-49
    27 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 11:58 am
    I would think 13 years of waiting to be locked up is punishment enough.
  19. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 12:05 pm
    I want to rephrase something I said too, by " he has a clear name" I mean as in he takes no punishment for his actions. I believe that once he serves his sentence he`ll have a clear name once again, or at least he should.

    @42467: I disagree with you that thats the reason we have the highest recidivism rate in the world. I`ll agree on the whole "prison is for punishment - not rehabilitation" statement. (Kudos by the way @nettech98 for that.) But I think the fear of prison works and the morality of punishing a person for doing what they knew to be wrong, is a just action. I know a couple of people who have changed their behavior after some time in jail or prison.

    I personally think it has more to do with jobs wanting to know your criminal background before they employ you. That combined with the person returning to the same area with all of the same influences.
  20. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm
    I think jobs are entitled to ask, but I think for most crimes, not all, once you complete your sentence, you`ve paid your dept to society and your record should be cleared. I think law enforcement and courts should have access to some long term files, but the public at large has no right to that information. I think at that point it becomes private property. Sort of like your Social security number, the government knows about you but it is not public information, once you have served your sentence of coarse. Before you have served your sentence, the benefits of the public outweigh the costs of the individual and your record is fair game for all to see but after you`ve served, no.
  21. Profile photo of nikkypickles
    nikkypickles Female 30-39
    184 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm
    At least in the UK prison sentences serve four purposes:
    1) To protect the public
    2) To rehabilitate the prisoner
    3) To deter future criminal behaviour (in either the current offender and the general public)
    4) To punish the criminal and make them pay for their crime.
  22. Profile photo of madduck
    madduck Female 50-59
    7244 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm
    sadly Nikki I think with Grayling trying to sell the probation service we may lose that order... and have US style profit machines instead of a prison service..
  23. Profile photo of ElectricEye
    ElectricEye Male 40-49
    2720 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm
    He committed a crime. He was sentenced to 13 years, which was a harsh sentence to begin with, considering it was a BB gun and a Burger King. No one was hurt, he got a little bit of money and he was later caught. Forteen years later, he hasn`t gotten caught at anything else and has obviously been a model citizen. He has already served almost a year in prison. I say let him out, put him on probation and let him get back to a normal life as much as he can. He has grown up and paid for the crime he committed in his late teens. It was mistake committed by the State to not follow up on it. He should not be punished now for a crime that he committed so long ago.

    I hope this becomes a regular feature on I-A-B.

    Nice post kitteh!
  24. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm
    "Nice post kitteh!"

    Yea same, I liked this. Kudos
  25. Profile photo of LordJim
    LordJim Male 60-69
    6257 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 3:18 pm
    Doesn`t making someone wait that long for the knock on the door count as cruel and unusual punishment/
  26. Profile photo of CaptKangaroo
    CaptKangaroo Male 50-59
    2285 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 3:54 pm
    Yeah, let him go.
    And why was it necessary to send a swat team?
    They found him, couldn`t they have scoped the situation out, got a little intel? See what they were dealing with?
    Nah, that`d make sense, and heaven to mergatroid, it`s scary to be a cop- them 3 year old`s can be vicious before they have their breakfast.
  27. Profile photo of piratefish
    piratefish Male 40-49
    675 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm
    Sorry. You do the crime, you do the time.
  28. Profile photo of mykunter
    mykunter Male 40-49
    2423 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm
    13 year sentence minus 14 years for the state to follow through incarcerating him = time served.
  29. Profile photo of h2oxy
    h2oxy Male 18-29
    306 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm
    @piratefish Not always. Doesn`t the US have a statute of limitations?
  30. Profile photo of bomb_tom
    bomb_tom Male 18-29
    522 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 7:01 pm
    He`s a scary looking black man so I didn`t bother reading all that nonsense, I just voted to lock him up.
  31. Profile photo of Zeegrr60
    Zeegrr60 Male 40-49
    2103 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm
    Here`s a thought:Give him Probation.
  32. Profile photo of luke182
    luke182 Male 18-29
    394 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 8:35 pm
    let him go. they are called "correctional facilities" they aren`t supposed to be there to punish people or to get revenge. they are supposed to return criminals to society as functioning productive citizens. Seems to me he is already there. Actually he`s probably more a stand up citizen than most of us here.
  33. Profile photo of normalfreak2
    normalfreak2 Male 18-29
    3033 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 8:52 pm
    haven`t seen a perfect 4.0 post in a long while. Do like this type of post Kitteh.
  34. Profile photo of nettech98
    nettech98 Male 50-59
    1039 posts
    April 17, 2014 at 10:51 pm
    "they aren`t supposed to be there to punish people or to get revenge. they are supposed to return criminals to society as functioning productive citizens"

    Not in the US. From a Supreme Court decision in Tapia v US:

    "First considered by the Court was the language of the Sentencing Reform Act, specifically that a court must `recogniz that imprisonment is not an appropriate means of promoting correction and rehabilitation`"
  35. Profile photo of Cajun247
    Cajun247 Male 18-29
    10714 posts
    April 18, 2014 at 2:15 am
    This is situation that statute of limitations were intended to guard against. It`s true that it doesn`t apply AFTER a conviction was made within the statute, but the purpose is to ensure that justice is rendered in a timely manner. That didn`t happen in this case. Probation doesn`t any since at this point. I think the judge should simply quash the sentence, but I`ll let him do his job.
  36. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17516 posts
    April 18, 2014 at 2:32 am
    nettech98: Correction and rehabilitation certainly was the goal. That is why prisons are called "penitentiaries" and "dept. of corrections". Criminals are to be penitent, corrected, aka rehabilitated. Parole boards still ask the proverbial question, "Do you feel you`ve been rehabilitated?".

    If prisons are about punishment only now, then we aren`t going to solve the problem of recidivism.
  37. Profile photo of Daegog
    Daegog Male 30-39
    1284 posts
    April 18, 2014 at 3:17 am
    Yeah, just give him probation.

    Shame he isnt a child raping du pont heir, he would be free and laughing his way to.. i guess rape more kids.
  38. Profile photo of Jowsh
    Jowsh Male 18-29
    1237 posts
    April 18, 2014 at 5:26 am
    13 years of worrying about when they are going to send you the letter / break down the door... That`s at least good for some `time served` or some kind of state negligence isn`t it?
  39. Profile photo of WhoSaidWhat
    WhoSaidWhat Male 30-39
    237 posts
    April 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm
    The guy has turned his life around, and became a valuable member of his community. He has rehabilitated himself, and done a much better job of it than the "corrections" system would have done. The fact that the government screwed up and failed to incarcerate him is their problem, not his. Double standards occur all the time where the US government is involved. Prime example is income tax. Get your tax payment in late, and you get charged penalties and interest. Let the IRS get a payment they owe you to you late, and what do you get? Nothing, but a late payment, no extra compensation.
  40. Profile photo of TheZigRat
    TheZigRat Male 50-59
    2194 posts
    April 18, 2014 at 5:50 pm
    Im not sure what the statute of limitations is for armed robbery but that should be concidered in this case.
  41. Profile photo of Pyrosisflame
    Pyrosisflame Male 18-29
    592 posts
    April 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm
    If the idea of prison is a punishment to rehabilitate criminals if he`s managed to rehabilitate himself and turn his life around he`s already served his time.

    let him walk i say.
  42. Profile photo of edgarrizo
    edgarrizo Male 40-49
    185 posts
    April 21, 2014 at 3:52 pm
    The crime shold`ve expired by now

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