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Clerical error keeps Missouri man out of prison for 13 years

For more than a decade a Missouri man waited for the day he would begin serving time for an armed robbery he committed in 1999. But it wasn't until Cornealious "Mike" Anderson was supposed to be released that the state realized he was never behind bars. 

"If he served his time he would have been released last summer. Since 2002 Anderson has been getting his life back together, he started a business, built a home, coaches football and he started a family." (Via WLTX)

The state chalked up the mistake to a clerical error. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison which was supposed to begin in 2002 after he lost his appeal but instead he was simply forgotten about. (Via Daily Mail

According to a petition, he never tried to run, lived an honest life and stayed put in St. Louis, where he now has a wife and four kids. When the day came that the state realized its mistake, "They raided his house with a SWAT team and ripped him from his home without warning, hauled him off to prison and told him he now had to serve 13 years."

Anderson's attorneys are petitioning to have him released, arguing he is a rehabilitated man and making him serve his time now would be "cruel and unusual punishment." 

The Riverfront Times talked to the dean of Saint Louis University School of Law who said, "I don't have any clue what happens now. I can see that a person wouldn't want to call up and say, 'Remember me? I owe you 13 years.' And then the real question is: Should we take into account the fact that he apparently has been a good citizen?"

But CBS talked to Tim Lohmar, the current prosecutor for St. Charles County, where Anderson committed the robbery. He says someone messed up big in this case, however. 

"It's very difficult for me to say we can create an exception and we can allow somebody who has found a way, whether it was by his own doing or otherwise, to not have to serve a sentence." 

The state attorney general has until next week to respond. Until then Anderson says all he can do is believe everything will work out in his favor. If he does have to serve time he will be behind bars until 2026.

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