Update 11:40 a.m.: This American Life just posted the petition to their Facebook page and the signature count has skyrocketed. Currently, there are over 1,300 names.
Last weekend, the national radio program This American Life ran a piece on Cornealious "Mike" Anderson. The report is based on a Riverfront Times feature we published back in September. It tells the strange story of how Anderson was convicted of armed robbery back in 1999, but was never picked up by Missouri authorities. The state finally realized its mistake this past July and re-arrested him. In the past thirteen years, Anderson rehabilitated himself and started a family with his wife. Today, he's back in prison. His release date is currently set for 2026.
Since it aired, RFT and Anderson's attorney, Patrick Michael Megaro have received a steady stream of e-mails from listeners asking how they can advocate for Anderson's release. In response, Megaro posted an online petition at Change.org, entitled "Release Cornealious Michael Anderson III From Prison." And the signature ticker is slowly rising.
If you missed the feature that broke this story in the Riverfront Times, read it here. Or, listen to the segment on This American Life below -- the piece about Anderson begins roughly at the 35:20 mark:
In late December, Megaro filed a petition for a write of habeas corpus against the warden of the Southeast Correctional Center where Anderson is currently being housed, arguing that after all this time the state of Missouri lost its right to incarcerate Anderson. The prison will be represented by Attorney General Chris Koster and the matter will be heard by Mississippi County Judge T. Lynn Brown. There are no hearings currently scheduled.
Nevertheless, Megaro is already encouraging supporters to write both Koster and Brown. Here's what he wrote, in part, in his online petition on Anderson's behalf:
If [Anderson] is required to serve the sentence, he will be 50 years old when he is released. His kids will have grown up without a father, his wife will have had to raise 4 children alone, and they will lose their home and business - everything he had worked so hard to attain in the last 13 years of leading a normal life.
The victim of the robbery believes that Mike Anderson should not be forced to now serve a 13- year sentence, and believes the State of Missouri dropped the ball. He has said that he believes it would serve no purpose in now incarcerating this man.
I am representing Mike Anderson in his petition for release from prison. Join us in petitioning the Attorney General of the State of Missouri and Mississippi County Judge T. Lynn Brown to release this man from this unjustice.
"Before the hearing, I plan to print it out and file it with the court and say hey, look how many people support you doing the right thing here," Megaro wrote Daily RFT in an e-mail. He says he hopes it to see the number of signatures hit 10,000 -- as of this writing it's at 261.
Update: After this post by TAL the petition is really off to the races:
Click here to view the petition at Change.org. Megaro is also encouraging Anderson's supporters to file a letter directly with the court in Mississippi County. Here's the address he provided:
Honorable T. Lynn Brown
Mississippi County Circuit Court
200 North Main Street
Charleston, Missouri 63834
Re: State of Missouri ex rel. Cornealious Michael Anderson, III vs. Ian Wallace, Warden,
Southeast Correctional Center
Docket #13MI-CV-00776 (Mississippi County)