Man who went viral after appearing in virtual drive-by court for suspended license never had one

Corey Harris hopes to get his learner’s permit on Friday, June 7, his lawyer tells PEOPLE.

Honorable Judge Cedric Simpson via Storyful

Judge J. Cedric Simpson (left) sent Corey Harris (right) to jail on May 15, after listening to his virtual hearing for driving with a suspended license while he was driving again.

The Michigan driver’s May 15 hearing went viral when a judge sent him to jail after the man — accused of driving with a suspended license — Zoom on the misdemeanor hearing from behind the wheel.

On Wednesday, June 5, Corey Harris arrived at Washtenaw County District Court wearing a bright yellow shirt with the words “Trust Me.”

At recorded audienceJudge J. Cedric Simpson made an explosive announcement that Harris never even had a license to suspend in the first place.

“He never had a Michigan license. Never,” Simpson said. “And has never been licensed in the other 49 states of the Commonwealth of this great union.”

In Michigan, it was once possible to technically have a suspended license without ever having a license at all, Harris’ attorney, Dionne Webster-Cox, told PEOPLE.

When Harris failed to pay child support, his non-existent license was automatically suspended in 2021. Later that year, those suspensions were lifted, although Webster-Cox claims his client – ​​who did not ‘didn’t have a license anyway – hadn’t paid the required amount then. fees to repair the documentation.

In October 2023, an officer stopped Harris in an Ann Arbor suburb for driving a car with an expired license plate, according to Webster-Cox. When he could not produce a license, it was presumed suspended based on child support documents.

(The video above was created following the May 15 hearing. Since then, additional facts related to Corey Harris’ case have become known.)

The misdemeanor case made headlines last month when the judge, expressly confused, asked Harris – who was clearly driving in the recorded audience – if he was actually driving.

“Just give me a second,” Harris responded. “I’m parking right now.”

Throwing down his pen, the judge rested his head on his hand. “Are you at a standstill? » » he asked after a moment.

“I’m coming right now,” Harris said. “Yes I am.”

When the judge ordered him to report to the Washtenaw County Jail, Harris appeared shocked.

Honorable Judge Cedric Simpson via Storyful

Corey Harris.

Related: Suspended license of man who appeared in court virtually while driving should have been reinstated: report

Harris has since publicly claimed he was unaware he did not have a license. According to Webster-Cox, he believed that by suspending his license he actually had one to suspend, even though he never obtained one.

“That’s where his story falls apart and makes no sense,” Webster-Cox says.

On June 5, the judge was having none of it.

“Mr. Harris, on December 28, 2023, do you know where you were?” Simpson asked, leaning back with pursed lips.

“I…

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