By Charlie Simmons
BURLINGTON, VT – Chittenden County Judge Michael Harris late last week granted State Attorney Eliza Novick-Smith’s request for an arrest warrant for an unhoused man because of repeated failures to appear in court.
This decision was made despite the accused’s lawyer describing how his client is home-insecure and currently living out of a motel in Bennington, VT, which is more than 100 miles away.
The defense claimed its client’s failure to appear that day was because he couldn’t find a way to get from Bennington to Burlington. The journey from Bennington to Burlington is about two and half hours by car.
Judge Harris insisted he “doesn’t accept” the accused not being able to find a ride, and that he still had a responsibility to appear. He cited the accused’s history of failing to appear for court dates, going back to 2022.
Judge Harris also pointed out that the accused is charged with a wide variety of misdemeanors, as well as three felonies for offenses including grand larceny and unlawful possession of a motor vehicle.