The past few weeks have probably been pretty tough on Cornealious Anderson. Life as he knows it was hanging in the balance. But, in the end, the whole thing went his way.
Cornealious Anderson got himself into trouble back in 2000 and was convicted of armed robbery. He was sentenced to 13 years prison in Missouri.
But Anderson appealed his conviction, as most people do, and was freed on bail pending the outcome of his appeal. His appeal was rejected in 2002. Anderson's bond should have been revoked and a warrant issued for his arrest. but that never happened.
Due to a clerical error, Anderson was never called to serve a sentence.
When Anderson's sentence was due to be up, only then did the state of Missouri catch the error. They then demanded that Anderson begin serving his time.
But since 2002, Anderson has become a contractor, has registered his business with the Secretary of State, is active in his church, coaches football, and is seen as an upstanding member of the community. He never changed his name. He never left town. He is now married with children.
But this man was arrested at gunpoint by police who raided his home and carried out his baby while he was handcuffed on the porch in front of his neighbors.
The popular radio program, This American Life, ran a story on Anderson's situation, getting him international attention. Public opinion rallied around him. Most folks figured that the point of incarceration is to make a person change their ways, to become a productive and safe member of society. Anderson had done that.
Even the manager of the fast food restaurant he had robbed thought that the should not be sent back to prison.
But Anderson was taken away to prison to begin serving his sentence.
Then, Monday morning, the prison guards took Anderson out of his cell and into solitary confinement. He did not have breakfast. He did not know why.
Before the end of the day, he was before Judge Terry Lynn Brown, who was considering a motion that Anderson be credited as having served his time by seeing it as time off for good behavior.
"You're a good man, and you're a changed man, and that makes a huge difference in my decision today... You're not the man you were fourteen years ago," Brown told Anderson. "I believe that continuing to [incarcerate you] serves no purpose. I think it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. I think it would unnecessarily punish an obviously rehabilitated man."
The judge credited Anderson with 13 years of good behavior.
"As such your sentence will be fully served and satisfied today... Go home to your family, Mr. Anderson, and continue to be a good father, a good husband, a good taxpayer... Good luck to you."
By the end of the day, Anderson was home with his family.
Image via YouTube