Man who joined court via Zoom while driving has never had a driver's license

There's a new twist in the case of a Michigan man who joined a court hearing for his suspended license via Zoom – the judge in the case revealed that he's never had a legal license in his entire life anywhere in the United States.

Corey Harris was in court in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, a week after his May 15 court hearing went viral. Harris joined that May 15 hearing regarding his suspended license via Zoom while driving. Judge Cedric Simpson was unsurprisingly dumbfounded.

"Mr Harris, are you driving?" Simpson asked the defendant.

"Actually, I’m pulling into my doctor’s office," Harris says. "Just give me one second, I'm parking right now."

The proceeding then was shared online across every social media platform as Simpson ordered him to turn himself in later that day. In the days that followed, Harris spoke to a local Detroit TV station late last week and claimed that he was being made an example of for an honest mistake. 

During Wednesday's hearing, which should have only lasted a few minutes, was close to 30 minutes long as Judge Simpson questioned statements that Harris made during his original arrest in October 2023. Harris told WXYZ that he ‘had no idea he was driving on a suspended license’.

"That assertion is absolutely incorrect with reference to any faulty information," Simpson said. "I am going to make sure that the record is very, very clear as to what this court knows and to what this court acted on May 15."

Simpson said that if he made a mistake or had wrong information, he would correct it. However, he said that the record is clear: Harris never had a legal driver's license anywhere in the state or country.

"He has never had a license. Ever. And has never had a license in any of the other 49 states or commonwealths that make up this country," Simpson said.

The judge then explained that Harris did have his license privileges suspended.

"When they suspended his license…they don't suspend the license, they suspend the privilege to drive in the state. Hence, if he had a Kentucky license, he would have been allowed to drive anywhere that Kentucky allowed him to drive, he just couldn't drive in Michigan because his privileges have been restricted."

But Judge Simpson said it didn't matter.

"He didn’t have a license. Ever," Simpson said.

He asserted, again, that there were no clerical errors made by anyone – including the Secretary of State's office. The only failure was by Harris to take steps to get his privileges back.

During the WXYZ interview, Harris was asked if there was an attempt to correct his license, which Harris told the station no, because of the October accident caused him to be housebound.

However, Judge Simpson said that was completely untrue.

"The reason I know that is because, Mr. Harris, on December 28, 2023 - do you know where you were?"

Harris said he believed he was ‘laid up from his accident’.

"You were at the Secretary of State’s office. You were at the Secretary of State’s office because redid and and got your new Michigan ID," Simpson said.

In Michigan, you cannot have both a driver's license and a state ID.


"The way I know that he's never had a license is because - on May 3, 1999 he was 19 at the time - he applied for his first Michigan ID," Simpson said. "He has religiously, every year, gotten a new ID. And so he knows that he doesn’t have a license."

Harris turned towards his attorney and looked stunned.

Simpson then warned Harris that sticking to the truth would be better for him.

"His falsehoods and misstatements are not going to fare him very well," Simpson said.

The prosecution then addressed the court, saying that during the October 2023 accident he admitted twice to police that he did not have a license. The prosecutor criticized the viral nature of the story, calling it an affront to the legal system.

Defense Attorney Dionne E. Webster-Cox then addressed the court, saying she wants take every step possible to correct things and cure Harris' record to move forward. She also said that Harris was not responsible for the ‘hoopla’.

"My client didn’t start the hoopla. Perhaps he made some comments but he didn’t start the hoopla," she said.

Simpson interjected, saying he may not have started but blaming other people during his interview didn't help.

"The one thing I don’t like is when people don’t take responsibility for what they’ve done," Simpson said. "The person that needed to be blamed is the person that he was staring at in the mirror."

"Just own it!" he added. "Once you own it becomes a whole lot earlier to move forward"

Webster-Cox said Harris working to secure his license and has paid the reinstatement fee. He's also due for a permit test this week.

However, Harris had a warrant for his arrest – for driving with a suspended license. 

Despite everything – Judge Simpson made it very clear about what he wants to see happen.

"I just want him to have a license," he said.

Harris, because of his warrant, was then taken into police custody but Simpson said he would give him a nominal bond so he could be released.

After court wrapped, Webster-Cox spoke with members of the media outside, saying she was surprised he was taken into custody. 

"Because if I had known there was an outstanding bench warrant, we could have handled that. So that wouldn't have been an issue. But what was I focused on? What we're going to do to correct everything. I didn't want to go into the past. I can't do anything about the past. (What we can focus on) is how are we going to correct things. So was I shocked? Absolutely. Do I want my clients to walk in and get escorted to the back? Absolutely not. That was not the plan. I can assure you of that," she said.

She also said that she was surprised by the fact that Harris has never had a driver's license.

" I can't go into his mind and what he's thinking all I can tell you was what I focused on was like what he's going to do to get his license and that's where I was when he was going to do this license. I hadn't done any research to go back. I didn't go back to 1999 to see about this Michigan State ID. All that was shocking to me. Absolutely shocking," she said.

Harris' next court date is Aug. 7 – which Simpson said should get him plenty of time to get a license.