Michigan man driving during viral Zoom court hearing had license suspension lifted in 2022

A Michigan man who went viral after a judge noticed him driving while he attended a virtual Zoom court hearing with a “suspended license” is being vindicated by an apparent clerical error.

Corey Harris, 44, attended the virtual hearing May 15 for charges related to an October traffic stop in Pittsfield, Township, Michigan. A clip from the hearing spread like wildfire across the internet last week, with many in disbelief that Harris would drive with a suspended license right in front of Judge Cedric Simpson.

After noticing what Harris was doing, Simpson revoked his bond and ordered him to turn himself in at the Washtenaw County Jail by 6 p.m. that day. What Simpson and no one in the courtroom apparently knew was that another judge had rescinded Harris’ license suspension in January 2022, according to Saginaw County court records obtained by USA TODAY on Monday.

Here’s what we know.

Why didn’t court know Harris’ license had been reinstated?

Harris’ license had been suspended during a now-settled child support case with Saginaw County Friend of the Court before it was ordered reinstated, court records show.

The reason Simpson and no one in the courtroom knew about the reinstatement is because the Michigan Secretary of State’s office never received a clearance from the Saginaw County Friend of the Court, reported WXYZ-TV, which was the first outlet to track down the clerical error in court records.

Without clearance, the lift on Harris’ license never officially went into effect, according to the Detroit-based TV station.

USA TODAY contacted the Michigan Secretary of State’s office and Simpson’s chambers but did not receive a response. The Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office, which represents Harris in the ongoing case, was closed when USA TODAY called.

‘I don’t even know why he would do that’

Simpson’s ruling came as Harris was driving his wife to the doctor due to a worsening medical condition, WXYZ-TV reported.

“I don’t even know why he would do that,” Simpson can be heard saying about Harris in the now-viral video clip.

When Harris heard Simpson order him to jail, his mouth fell open.

WXYZ-TV interviewed Harris, asking him what was going through his mind during the now-viral hearing.

“What was I thinking? I was thinking about getting my wife medical help. That’s what I was thinking,” Harris told the TV station. “I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I got a suspended license. I don’t care about all that.”

‘It’s very embarrassing’

Harris spent two days in jail after the hearing, abiding by Simpson’s order and turning himself in. Although Harris did the time, he told WXYZ-TV that the license suspension was “supposed to have been lifted two years ago, but they didn’t.”

“It’s very embarrassing,” Harris said about the whole situation.

Khyla Craine, deputy legal director for the Michigan Secretary of State, told the station that the process to get a driver’s license reinstated “can be complicated.”

“Sometimes it is simple as we at the Secretary of State’s office did not get a clearance from the court that everything was done, but something happened in the wires, and we needed to talk to the court to get the clearance and clean it up for the resident,” Craine said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michigan man in viral Zoom court hearing had license suspension lifted


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