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Why was man's driver's license still suspended 2 years after a judge ordered it lifted?

A video of Corey Harris driving during a hearing about his suspended license went viral, but a judge had ordered the suspension to be lifted two years ago.
Suspended license driver Michigan court
Posted at 7:38 AM, Jun 03, 2024

The video of Corey Harris that went viral has garnered a lot of laughs, but it is no joke for the Michigan man, who is trying to understand how he even ended up being charged for driving with a suspended license.

Man with suspended license charge shows up to virtual court hearing while driving

The suspension is tied to a child support case with Saginaw County Friend of the Court. In January 2022, a judge ordered that suspension be lifted to allow Harris to drive again.

But according to the Michigan Secretary of State's office, it never received a clearance from the Friend of the Court in 2022, so Harris' suspension was never lifted.

Harris recently appeared on a courtroom video that showed him driving during a virtual hearing on the misdemeanor case that stemmed from a traffic stop in Pittsfield Township, Michigan, in October 2023.

Harris said he was driving his wife to the doctor because her medical condition was worsening.

Washtenaw County Judge Cedric Simpson and Corey Harris appear during a court hearing over Zoom on May 15, 2024.

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Once Judge Cedric Simpson noticed Harris driving, he asked the attorney who was representing Harris in his courtroom. The defense attorney confirmed that driving on a suspended license was indeed the charge Harris is facing.

What's unclear is why Harris' case wasn't resolved by his public defender or the Pittsfield Township's prosecutor's office months ago.

It took less than five minutes for Scripps News Detroit to search Saginaw County court records to see that in January 2022, a judge rescinded the order that suspended Harris' driver's license so he could be reinstated.

Scripps News Detroit has reached out to the prosecutor's office as well as Harris' defense attorney's office. And speaking for the public defender's office, a county spokesperson said they do not comment on ongoing court cases.

The Saginaw County Friend of the Court has also not responded to our calls. But, Friday afternoon, the Secretary of State's office confirmed that they never received the clearance from the Friend of the Court that would have allowed him to be reinstated after he paid some fees.

Khyla Craine, the deputy legal director for the Michigan Secretary of State, said helping people clear up suspensions on their license is exactly why they created the Road to Restoration program where they hold clinics across Michigan, helping people sort through the complications of getting their driver's license reinstated.

"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.

Craine said the process can be complicated and people don't often know what they need to do to get reinstated.

"That's why we provide that one-on-one consultation with the resident to help them understand what they need to do," she said, adding that sometimes people are afraid to go to a secretary of state's office or the court for fear of being arrested.

Craine said the clinics provide a safe space for people to work on resolving their issues.

"At our clinics, we're able to spend as much time as the resident needs to go over their driving record, help them understand what they need to do," said Craine.

This story was originally published by Kimberly Craig at Scripps News Detroit.