Governor Brown Commutes Eureka Woman’s 25 To Life Sentence

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SACRAMENTO – A woman serving time for a murder conviction over 15 years ago in Eureka has her sentence commuted by Governor Jerry Brown.

Back in April of 2001, Florence Anderson was working as a prostitute and went to the victim, Bruce James’ motel room on Broadway with her pimp, Michael Lane. It was thought that James had a lot of money. Lane stabbed James to death and along with Anderson and two others stole $49.00, credit cards, jewelry and clothing. In July of 2002, Ms. Anderson was sentenced to 25-years to life for first degree murder plus 2-years for second degree burglary.

Anderson has admitted she was a drug addict and in her application for clemency described a history of abuse and unawareness of how out of control her life had become. Throughout her 16 years behind bars, Anderson has shown a desire to overcome her struggles with drugs by committing to rehabilitation and even has become an alcohol and drug counselor for other inmates. She’s never been disciplined for misconduct and has been housed in the honor dorm. A correctional officer described her as a model for real change.

Brown said he understood the gravity of her offense. However, her history of abuse and limited role in the crime, the fact she maintained sobriety and helped other inmates who struggle with addiction made him believe she deserved an earlier opportunity to make her case before a parole board so they can determine if she’s ready to be released from prison.