Record set for man behind the wheel during virtual license suspension hearing

A Michigan man who went viral last week in a video clip of a judge spotting him behind the wheel while convening a virtual court hearing over his alleged suspended driver's license was the victim of a clerical error, according to reports.

Corey Harris, 44, attended the May 15 virtual hearing for an October traffic stop in Pittsfield Township, Michigan, USA Today reported.

In the clip, Judge Cedric Simpson appeared in disbelief as Harris drove while attending the hearing for a suspended driver's license.

“Mr. Harris, are you driving?” Simpson asked, to which Harris replied that he was driving.

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Defendant Corey Harris and Judge Cedric Simpson

Defendant Corey Harris and Judge Cedric Simpson are seen during a virtual hearing in a Michigan court. Harris had his driver's license suspension lifted in 2022, but a clerical error reportedly meant it was never cleared from the system. (History)

“OK, so maybe I don't understand something. It's driving license suspended [case]” Simpson told Harris' public defender. “And he was just driving, and he doesn't have a license.”

He then ordered Harris' bail revoked and ordered him to surrender to authorities at the Washtenaw County Jail by 6 p.m. that day, much to Harris' disbelief. The music video went viral on the Internet and quickly spread like wildfire.

“With the type of ties I have with the church and the community, it’s very embarrassing,” Harris told WXYZ-TV of the widely watched incident.

His driver's license was suspended in 2010 for unpaid child support, but a judge overturned the suspension in January 2022, the television station said.


However, the Michigan Secretary of State's office never received authorization from Saginaw's friend of the court, WXYZ reported, which spotted the clerical error. This means that the lifting of the suspension never came into effect.

In the video clip, Harris told Simpson he was pulling into a doctor's parking lot for an appointment.

A Michigan Zoom Court Hearing

A Zoom court hearing in Michigan in which a defendant whose driver's license was allegedly suspended was caught driving. (History)

“What was I thinking? I was thinking of asking my wife for medical help,” Harris told the news station. “That's what I thought. I wasn't thinking about the fact that I had a suspended license. I don't care about any of that.

“You always have to check behind these workers because they will say they will do something and they won’t do it,” he added.

Harris said he spent two days in jail after the hearing after turning himself in.


Khyla Craine, deputy legal director for the Michigan Secretary of State, told the station that the process of getting a driver's license reinstated can be a complicated process.

“Sometimes it's simple, because at the Secretary of State's office we didn't get the court authorization that everything had been done, but something happened in the wires and we had to talk to the court to get permission and set the record straight for the resident,” Craine said.


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