Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: Gov. Nixon Could Double Pardon Power with 'Mike' Anderson

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: Gov. Nixon Could Double Pardon Power with 'Mike' Anderson

Article excerpt

Gov. Jay Nixon has been a very stingy man when it comes to using his executive power on acts of mercy.

He has granted clemency or commuted a prison sentence only one time in his more than five years as governor. In 2011 he commuted the death sentence for convicted murderer Richard Clay. Mr. Clay was sentenced for the 1994 murder-for-hire of Randy Martindale in the Missouri Bootheel.

During that same time, he has denied 218 petitions for clemency and 2,487 are awaiting his action. It's a pitiful lack of mercy compared to previous Missouri governors and most other governors in the nation.

The case of Cornealious "Mike" Anderson gives Mr. Nixon an excellent reason to take the mercy pen out of mothballs.

Mr. Anderson was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2000 for an armed robbery the previous year in St. Charles County. Due to a clerical error, he was never sent to jail. Instead, Mr. Anderson went on to lead a life that by all accounts has been honorable.

He never tried to hide from the law. Appeals in his case went all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court. He has a drivers license with his current address, paid his taxes regularly, got business licenses and construction permits. He married, became a carpenter and fathered four children.

And then last summer, the Missouri Department of Corrections noticed when it came time for Mr. Anderson to be released from prison that he had never been there. In July 2013 he was arrested and is currently in jail.

There is no public good to be served by punishing Mr. Anderson, 37, for his crime at this late date. It will only cost the state money, deprive a family of its husband and father and cripple Mr. Anderson's life once he leaves prison, all because the state failed to do its job.

Even his victim, a Burger King manager robbed at gunpoint in 1999 by Mr. Anderson and a companion, said in an interview with the Riverfront Times that he did not believe Mr. Anderson should be returned to jail.

RFT managing editor Jessica Lussenhop broke the story of Mr. Anderson's plight last year, but the case started its rise to national prominence when it was aired in an episode of the National Public Radio show, "This American Life. …

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