Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Maurice Harden, 19, had nothing to say in his defense before the judge revoked his probation and sent him to prison for 25 years.
Sixth Judicial District Ian Thornhill said he agreed with Harden's attorney that he has the potential to "do right" but he lacks the desire, and hasn't taken advantage of the opportunities for rehabilitation.
Harden will now serve the 25-year sentence that was deferred until his 18th birthday and then suspended in 2012. He was given five years probation but he violated probation three times for numerous violations including breaking curfews and drug violations since pleading guilty in 2010 to first-degree robbery and interference with officials acts causing serious injury.
His last violation was walking away from work release at the Hinzman Center, where Thornhill placed him to receive substance abuse treatment and to gain employment. He left on a three hour pass and instead of returning, he went to Indiana. He was arrested and extradited back last month.
Harden said during the hearing that after he called the center to inform them he would be late, he knew he would be arrested when he returned, so he decided go back.
Todd Weimer, Harden's attorney, asked the judge to give him one more chance. He felt Harden could "do right and be a productive member in society."
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden asked the judge to revoke his probation and order him to serve the 25 years.
"He's been given every reasonable chance to succeed," Vander Sanden said. "I think the court made it clear last time he was on thin ice."
At past violation hearings, Vander Sanden was willing to give a chance to do better. He agreed with probation officials and suggested a contempt charge for days in jail and even supported placing Harden in work release, so he could get substance abuse treatment.
In March 2009, Harden, along with two others, robbed David Scanlon and Austin Switalski, both of Cedar Rapids. The victims were injured during the robbery.
Cedar Rapids Police Officer Tim Davis responded to the call and attempted to stop Jose Rockiett, then 18, of Cedar Rapids, who was with Harden. Harden ran away before the assault happened but Rockiett struck Davis in the head with a BB-gun. Davis suffered a fractured skull and severe brain swelling after falling and hitting his head on the street, according to court records. Rockiett, now 21, is serving 25 years in prison.
Robert Watkins, 19, was also given probation in 2012 for his part in the robbery of Scanlon and Switalski.