Judge Criticized For Giving Felon 6-Day Sentence

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Duval County judge is facing criticism over a decision to release a convicted felon arrested and convicted on a new gun charge.

Anthony Glover, 36, was released from prison in 2001 after serving 11 years behind bars for second-degree murder and robbery. He was 17 at the time of that arrest.

In 2006, police arrested him for illegally carrying a firearm.

Circuit Judge John Merrett convicted Glover on that charge, but sentenced him to just the six days in jail he had served when he was convicted.

The judge said Glover testified he was carrying the gun because he feared for his life, which he said had been threatened by another convicted felon.

"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Glover's life was in grave jeopardy," Judge Merrett told Channel 4's Dan Leveton. "He was in a situation where a reasonable person would have done what he did, and I know that because I'm the one who sentenced the man who threatened him, and heard extensive testimony about his inclination for lethal violence."

Judge Merrett also said that despite several arrests, Glover had been living a fairly quiet, clean life since his release.

"He broke the law, which is why I found him guilty and I judged him to be guilty, but he was not breaking the law casually. He wasn't doing it for no reason. He wasn't doing it to an evil end," Judge Merrett said.

Despite the judge's ruling, the state attorney's office said the case is not complete, telling Channel 4 that an appeal will be filed because Glover should have been sentenced as a habitual offender. Under those guidelines, Glover could have been sentence to between three and 30 years in prison.

"The judge imposed what sentence he thought was appropriate and our position is that a guideline sentence was appropriate even if he disagreed with us that it did not qualify as a habitual violent felony offender," Assistant State Attorney Mark Calil said. "He made statements to the police that he had the firearm for protection against a particular individual. However, that is not a legal justification for a convicted felon to have a firearm."

"There is absolutely not doubt in my mind whatsoever that Glover's life was in grave jeopardy," Judge Merrett said.