• News
  • 118 – After a 25-Year Wrongful Incarceration, This Navy Veteran Reassembles Pieces of His Stolen Life

118 – After a 25-Year Wrongful Incarceration, This Navy Veteran Reassembles Pieces of His Stolen Life

118 – After a 25-Year Wrongful Incarceration, This Navy Veteran Reassembles Pieces of His Stolen Life

In June 1993, Navy veteran Derrick Sanders was arrested for the shooting death of a Milwaukee man he had assaulted seven months previously. Although he had no role in the man’s death, inept legal counsel advised him to plead no contest to charges of first-degree intentional homicide, party to a crime, and he was sentenced to 21 years to life in prison.

Over the next twenty-five years, Derrick would be entrenched in legal rigmarole after filing a motion to withdraw his plea. He argued that, due to his attorney’s inadequate explanation of potential punishment, he did not intelligently enter the plea. In August 2018, a Milwaukee County circuit judge granted Derrick’s motion to withdraw the plea. A few weeks later, the Assistant District Attorney dropped the charges and Derrick was a free man.

In this riveting, all-new episode, Derrick and Mike discuss the complex, systemic deficiencies that enabled Derrick’s wrongful conviction. Derrick also reflects on ways he would have advocated for himself more staunchly and drops some firsthand truth bombs about what we should know to protect ourselves from a false accusation.

Show Notes

[00:01] Welcome to Open Mike!

[00:33] Background and bio of today’s guest, Derrick Sanders.

[01:29] Hello, Mr. Sanders! Welcome to the show.

[02:07] You’re a Navy veteran who was honorably discharged, you had a well-paying job. But you got involved in assaulting Jason Bowie — what was that about?

[03:25] Your friend was Anthony Boddie, who got you involved in this, right? So, you were sticking up for him, beating up on the guy you thought stole the TV… when you left the scene, he was still alive?

[5:00] You decided to start cleaning up at the abandoned house… you had cleaning supplies there?

[05:32] So, you took off and what happened next?

[06:48] At what point did you hear the gunshot, or did you never hear it? Who shot Jason Bowie?

[07:33] Despite the fact that he was your friend, Anthony Boddie told police you were present for the shooting, which you weren’t. Is that correct?

[08:19] Didn’t John Peavey, in one of his eight statements, also claim you were present during the shooting?

[08:42] What did you tell police when they caught up with you in June 1993?

[09:32] At the end of your written statement, you expressed sorrow that this occurred over a television set. Why did you write those words?

[10:15] Both you and Boddie were charged with first-degree, intentional homicide and party to a crime. Did you know what party to a crime meant at that point?

[11:01] Your attorney, was he court-appointed? What kind of job did he do for you?

[12:39] Derrick’s private attorney urged him to plead no contest, which is basically unheard of for a murder case.

[13:19] The judge sentenced you to 21 years to life, with the possibility of parole in 2015. What went through your mind when you heard that?

[13:56] A couple years after you were incarcerated, your mother received a signed affidavit from Anthony Boddie. What did that affidavit say?

[16:49] Did your attorney lose his license after this?

[17:51] You spent twenty-two years in prison after the affidavit was sent. Why didn’t that letter get you out?

[19:38] Who was your appellate attorney throughout this? Because they did a great job getting the conviction overturned and presenting you options.

[20:41] It makes no sense — it seems like your second attorney was as bad as the first attorney! She had you plead guilty to the exact same charges after the appellate attorney got you all these options!

[22:55] One of the reasons we do these shows is to educate people. At the end of the day, you weren’t educated on criminal justice proceedings, and it’s your lawyer’s fault. But there is some responsibility on you… do you take that responsibility that you may not have done the right thing?

[24:31] To everybody listening… if you’re sitting in prison and you don’t agree with your lawyer, and it feels like something is wrong, get a second opinion.

[25:11] Let’s fast forward… what happened in 2018 that got your case reviewed by the police again?

[28:20] You got a new lawyer, and the judge was listening to your story… what happened next?

[30:23] Did the letter you write to the judge make it in the file? Was your attorney combative on the stand, or was she helpful to your cause?

[32:27] What did the judge do after this hearing?

[34:45] The state compensated you a measly $25,000… what was that about?

[37:06] I wish you the best on those lawsuits and claims and hope you get every dollar you’re entitled to. You were treated wrongly by the state and had some incompetent attorneys, never received apologies, and were wronged.

[39:21] It’s been three years since you’ve been out… how are you doing these days? What are you up to?

[41:05] I’m so sorry this happened to you, this is maddening and ranks up there as one of the most messed up stories I’ve heard. All I can do is apologize on behalf of your lawyers and for the failure of the system. Hopefully someone listening to this podcast will learn something and hopefully avoid the type of mistreatment you faced. Thank you for appearing on Open Mike and best of luck in the future. Take care.

[43:11] If you know someone who needs to hear this podcast, send it. Forward it. Please like, and subscribe, and comment to let us know what you’d like to see on upcoming episodes. We look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks. Thanks for listening, thanks for watching.

Watch This episode!

Where to listen to all episodes:

Spotify logo Stitcher Tune in mike morse on youtube iHeart Radio