|Center on Halsted reps failed to show up in court twice, giving Gerald Harris (inset) the rare experience of being charged with the same crime twice and having the charges dropped twice. | CWB; CPD|
We’ve filed several reports about Center on Halsted’s failure to show up in court when people are charged with committing crimes on the LGBTQ service agency’s property at 3656 North Halsted.
The Center’s repeated no-shows are of community interest because the agency routinely tells local neighborhood meetings that their attendance in court shows their commitment to the area and their (ahem) excellent relationship with police.
When a victim no-shows in court, the charges are thrown out immediately.
Now, for the first time, we can report that the Center on Halsted has done the nearly impossible: They failed to show up for a criminal case twice. Here’s the scoop:
In February, paroled burglar and alleged Gangster Disciple street gang member Gerald Harris was arrested and charged with stealing a power drill set from the COH. As usual, no Center representative was in court for Harris’ initial hearing and prosecutors were forced to drop the case.
On March 2, prosecutors took the unusual step of asking a judge to reinstate the charges against Harris. In their motion, prosecutors said a COH representative claimed to have never received a phone message about the court appearance and also claimed to have not received the state’s mailed notice about the court date.
Judge Anthony Calabrese granted the motion and reinstated charges against Harris. The next court date was set for April 17. Guess what? The Center on Halsted didn’t show up, according to court records. Charges against Harris were dropped again.
Some Good News
If Harris’ name looks familiar, it’s because we had another story about him last week. Since being paroled last October, we reported, Harris had been charged in the COH theft case; been charged with battering a business owner in Ravenswood, and been charged with yet another burglary in Wrigleyville on March 18.
Despite all of those charges, the state had not yet moved to revoke Harris’ parole. That changed almost immediately after our story ran. Harris’ parole has now been revoked, and he is sitting in the Stateville Correctional Center. He’ll be there until October 12.