NEWS

Maurice Harden may be out of chances, judge could give him prison time

Maurice Harden, of Cedar Rapids, expresses his regret in decisions he has made in the past, at the Linn County Courthous
Maurice Harden, of Cedar Rapids, expresses his regret in decisions he has made in the past, at the Linn County Courthouse, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday, March 23, 2012. Harden faces five years probation and a five year no contact order with any immediate family to Officer Tim Davis. (Nikole Hanna/The Gazette/KCRG)

A 19-year-old faces a judge this week who told him last year if he violated his probation again, for a fourth time, he would go to prison.

Maurice Harden, of Cedar Rapids, tested that ultimatum in January when he left work release at the Hinzman Center on a three hour pass Jan. 11, to look for a job but instead, he absconded to Indiana. Harden was arrested last month in Fort Wayne, Ind., and was extradited back to Linn County at the end of the month.

Harden remains in the Linn County Jail under a $15,000 cash only bond. His probation revocation hearing is Thursday in Linn County District Court. He will also face an escape charge.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said Friday he plans to ask the judge to revoke probation and send Harden to prison.

“Sometimes a defendant is put on probation, have no problems and you never see them again,” Vander Sanden said. “The point of supervised probation is to provide rehabilitation but the defendant has to be willing to make an effort and stay out of trouble.”

Sixth Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill told Harden at the hearing in October, after his last violations, he was going to place him in work release and extend his probation for another year to allow him to get drug treatment and gain employment. Thornhill said it was his last chance.

During that hearing, a probation officer testified about Harden’s substance abuse issues. He thought Harden would benefit more from continuing treatment than jail time.

Thornhill on a previous violation gave Harden some jail time but he continued to break curfews and test positive for drugs, according to court records.

Harden has been on probation for first-degree robbery and interference with official acts causing serious injury in the March 29, 2009 robbery of David Scanlon and Austin Switalski, both of Cedar Rapids. During that robbery, 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 and he 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.

Harden received a deferred sentence on the 25-year prison term because he was a juvenile at the time and then he received probation after turning 18.

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