COURT WATCH: Judge Issues Warrant, Assigns $1,500 Bail for Homeless Man after Repeated Failures to Appear in Court 

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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.

Judge Harris issued $1,500 bail, charging he “didn’t accept” that the accused couldn’t find a way to get to 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.

The proceedings concluded with Judge Harris setting a date for another status conference, to be held once the accused is in custody.

About The Author

Charlie Simmons is a third year at the University of Vermont studying English and Political Science. His academic interests include contemporary politics and creative writing. While he is not yet sure what his career aspirations are, he is interested in studying law, journalism, or creative writing at a postgraduate level. In his free time he enjoys skating, surfing, and doing ceramics.

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