A 51-year-old Chicago woman who has been arrested 396 times in the past four decades has accepted a plea deal that will send her to a mental health and substance abuse treatment facility. Shermain Miles of Chicago's Uptown community area, whose long criminal record dates back to 1978, thanked presiding Judge Peggy Chiampas for the deal on Monday, promising to change, the Chicago Sun-times reported.
“All of us are reaching out to you and offering you, maybe for the first time in your life, a hand, OK?” Judge Peggy Chiampas told Miles in the Cook County court. “But you’ve got to reach out and grab all of our hands as well.”
Chiampas called Miles a person whose behavior has “terrorized the community” for years. Miles expressed appreciation for the deal, telling Judge Chiampas, "I just want to thank you.” She added, “I’m not that person."
Miles’ first arrest, for allegedly breaking into a vehicle, took place when she was 16. Since then she been arrested for charges including burglary, drug possession, prostitution, aggravated assault and retail theft. According to the Cook County state attorney's office, 73 of Miles' arrests have resulted in convictions. In 1988 alone, she was arrested 25 separate times. Miles gave Chicago police at least 83 different aliases during her many arrests.
For the past six months, Miles has been incarcerated at Logan correctional Center in Lincoln, Ill., where she has been serving time for multiple parole violations. Miles was released from jail in April of 2011, after she served a three-year sentence for armed robbery, CBS Chicago reported. But soon after her release, she was arrested several more times, for charges such as attacking local alderman James Cappleman, trespassing and public intoxication.
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According to an earlier report by the Chicago Phoenix, Miles chased Cappleman down an Uptown street while carrying a knife last August. She also reportedly harassed and physically assaulted several other people on the street. After the incident Cappleman told the Chicago Phoenix that Miles, who at the time was going by the alias Charmane Boone, was adept at navigating the system and said that her crime “raises the issue about a very broken system.”
“Something should have been flagged once you get over so many arrests. Clearly, Charmane Boone was not hearing the message that society thinks she should hear,” Cappleman said. “People are intimidated to see her. We can’t have that in this community. That’s not good for anyone.”
The Sun-Times reported that a representative from Cappleman’s office was present at Monday’s hearing. A prosecutor told the newspaper that Cappleman was satisfied with the terms of the plea deal.