Judge Gives 18-year-old on Probation One More Chance

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A judge told an 18-year-old who violated probation for a robbery that he was giving him one more chance and if he saw him again, it wouldn't be pleasant.

Maurice Harden of Cedar Rapids was on probation for first-degree robbery and interference with official acts causing serious injury in the robbery of David Scanlon and Austin Switalski, both of Cedar Rapids, on March 29, 2009. Harden received a deferred sentence on the 25-year prison term because he was a juvenile at the time and then he received probation in March after he turned 18.

Harden has racked up six probation violations since his probation started. He had four violations in August including missed curfews and testing positive for marijuana. On Sept. 6, he violated curfew and was charged with two misdemeanors, drug possession and interference with official acts. Harden is accused of running from police and was found with marijuana.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden asked 6th Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill not to revoke Harden's probation but instead find him in contempt and order him to serve 120 days in jail. Vander Sanden said Harden has agreed to plead guilty to the drug possession and interference with officials acts charges and he feels that will hold him accountable and allow him to carry out his probation.

Todd Weimer, Harden's public defender, said Harden understands the "significant nature" of his underlying charges. He also asked the judge to find him in contempt.

Thornhill told Harden he didn't expect to see him back in the courtroom after giving him probation and he lectured Harden on following the conditions of probation.

"You made it about one month before having a violation," Thornhill said. "Do you remember back in March... I told you this was a second chance. It looks like you thumbed your nose at the court the minute you walked out."

Thornhill said because Vander Sanden recommended contempt and because of Weimer's "advocacy," he wouldn't revoke his probation. He found Harden in contempt and ordered him to serve 180 days in jail instead of the recommended 120.

"I don't want to see you in here again," Thornhill said.

During the robbery in 2009, Cedar Rapids Police Officer Tim Davis responded and attempted to stop Jose Rockiett, 18, of Cedar Rapids, who was with Harden. Harden ran away before the assault happened. Rockiett struck Davis in the head with a BB-gun and he was knocked unconscious and suffered a fractured skull and severe brain swelling after he fell and hit his head on the street, according to police reports.
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