You may have heard of Sharmain S. Harris from our local liberal newspaper in its fluff piece from earlier this year. Before that, they named Harris to their 20 under 40 program. No matter where you read or hear about Harris, the narrative seems to be the same: Drug dealer turns life around after prison sentence. This is misleading. Yes, in 2009 Mr. Harris was accused, and later convicted of, selling crack. (Documents below)
This is what you have not heard about: He was not sentenced to prison for the crack-selling. Judge Mary K. Wagner went easy on Harris, giving him 4 years of probation for the two felony convictions. He wasn’t sentenced to prison until his probation was revoked. His probation was revoked in November of 2011. Wait. Let’s back up. Four months after he was caught selling crack, he was charged with 6 felonies and 2 misdemeanors for a gang-land assault in the 4600 block of 36th Ave. According to the criminal complaint (see below) and a source, on May 17, 2009, Harris was accused of beating a man with a baseball bat. He then threw a brick through the window of a house hitting a woman and nearly missing a child. Harris was with about 30 other people, all alleged to be members of the same street gang. Believe it or not, Wagner gave him only 2 more years of probation on top of the 4 already imposed. No jail.
In 2011, Harris was charged for yet another incident of violence. He was charged with 1 felony and 3 misdemeanors. According to the criminal complaint (see below), Harris kicked in the door to his ex-girlfriend’s home and entered it without permission. The victim told police he was upset looking for drugs and money. When Harris realized she was on the phone with 9-1-1, he strangled her and dragged her around the home by her throat and hair. He then took the phone from her. He then took her wallet and left the home. This case revoked his probation and sent him to prison. He was given an over-generous plea deal again.
Governor Walker didn’t entertain a pardon from Harris, but that changed when Evers was elected. Earlier this year, Harris applied to Governor Evers for a pardon. DA Mike Graveley and Judge Mary Wagner, both Democrats, are supporting this pardon.
We at the Kenosha County Eye believe in redemption. This is the thing though; there are people in Kenosha more deserving of Pardons. Pardons shouldn’t be used on violent, repeat criminals.