|Some of Charmaine Boone/Shermain Miles's many mugshots|
Shermain Miles (or Charmaine Boone, depending on the day) is a familiar sight to many in Uptown. Too familiar, most would say.
She's been a one-woman crime wave. Not only quality-of-life crimes, like public indecency and public intoxication (although there've been plenty of those). She's also been convicted of attacking senior citizens; punching, slapping and pinching people she randomly encounters; pulling knives on pedestrians; and stopping traffic because she feels like it. As we said in February: "Ms. Miles's long rap sheet lists convictions for armed robbery, attempted robbery, criminal damage to state property, retail theft (twice), possession of controlled substances, possession of narcotics (twice), attempted robbery of a victim who was handicapped or elderly, and robbery."
The Sun-Times has an in-depth article about her today. She's had a tortured life, and part of us feels sorry for her. But a bigger part of us feels sorry for Uptown and the North Side, where so many people and businesses have suffered because of her inability to be part of society without causing problems.
As the article says: "She fakes seizures that mean costly hospital visits. She gets judges to delay her cases. And then she returns to the streets to be arrested again and again — so many times that she ranks in the top 1 percent for all current CPD arrestees."
This woman, who prompted a community letter-writing campaign last February, has been a client of many social services, including Thresholds, which refused to talk to the Sun-Times about Ms. Miles or even about their programs in general. As the article says, she's a master at working the system. A policeman says she's brilliant at "getting judges to delay cases so that her victims get frustrated, stop coming to court and then the case is dismissed."
Right now (sigh of relief) she's in jail. She may be there until 2014 if a Prisoner Review Board finds her guilty of breaking her parole. After that?
If nothing changes, she'll come back to Uptown, as she has many times before. She has family (two sisters and adult daughter) who can't handle her. So Ms. Miles always makes her way back here.
The entire article is here.