The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

September 26, 2013

Drug sentence hangs on whether status is ‘career offender’

SHARON — A Shenango Valley man pleaded guilty to a federal drug offense Wednesday, but it’s not clear what kind of sentence he will face.

Maurice Davis, 28, pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Pittsburgh, believes Davis is a career offender, while the Federal Public Defender’s Office argues he is not.

U.S. District Court Judge Gustave Diamond will make an initial determination as to whether he is a career offender, although both sides said an appellate case will set a precedent that Davis’ case eventually will conform to.

The charge carries a sentence of 5 to 40 years in prison. If he is deemed a career offender, Davis’ sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 21.8 to 27.75 years, Diamond said. While Diamond does not have to sentence within the guidelines, judges frequently do.

The sentence guidelines he would face without the career offender designation has not been made public.

Although Davis gave up many of his appeal rights in the plea agreement with prosecutors, the deal specifically allows him to appeal a career offender designation.

Prosecutors and the defense agree that Davis’ previous cocaine-related conviction is a qualifying offense under the career offender statute. The dispute arises from a conviction of fleeing police, which prosecutors contend is a crime of violence, but the defense says is not.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric S. Rosen said he will not have to try that conviction before Diamond at Davis’ sentencing, but officials will look at his plea in that case and other documentary details.

The U.S. Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia, is considering a case dealing with whether fleeing police is a crime of violence, Rosen said.

Wednesday’s guilty plea stems from an April 12, 2012, search of Davis’ home at 421 Malleable St., Sharon.

State police had made controlled buys of drugs from Davis and charged him with selling 2.4 grams of crack to an informant for $180 Jan. 20, 2012, at his home.

When police went to arrest Davis on charges related to that buy, they found marijuana on his kitchen table.

Police obtained a search warrant for the home and a drug dog indicated an area in the kitchen pantry. Police found a trap door and turned up crack and powder cocaine, marijuana and 20 painkilling Roxicet pills.

The amount of cocaine was 6.4 ounces, and the amount of marijuana was 4.9 ounces.

Police also seized $4,550, which Rosen alleged was earned through drug sales, two digital scales and other drug paraphernalia.

State police initially filed the charges in state court based on the controlled buy and the search and those cases are pending.

A separate case, in which Davis was charged with attempted homicide and other offenses for shooting a woman in the leg Jan. 5, 2011, on the sidewalk in the 700 block of Idaho Street, Farrell, also is pending.

Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems said his office will review those cases once the federal prosecution plays out and decide whether to pursue them or not.

Diamond had set sentencing for January 22, but Assistant Public Defender W. Penn Hackney asked that it be held sooner so Davis can move to the federal prison system more quickly.

Diamond set a new date of Dec. 18.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • To demolish or not Tear it down? Fix it up?

    In 2007, Richard D. Givens bought a home at 831 Knobwood Drive in Hermitage for $245,000.
    Today, the city of Hermitage is seeking the demolition of the now-vacant house, arguing the damage from water infiltration makes the structure not worth saving.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 19, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Man admits having child porn

    A Mercer man accused of soliciting and downloading photographs of nude teenage girls pleaded guilty April 8 to sexual abuse of children for possessing child pornography.

    April 19, 2014

  • Police getting new tool to fight crime

    Sharon police working at crime scenes will be putting a powerful new investigative tool to work as soon as next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • Soap box derby finds new home

    The Greater Pennsylvania Super Kids soap box derby for special-needs kids is moving to Sharpsville.

    April 19, 2014

  • News briefs from April 18, 2014

    ‘Nonspecific threat’ prompts evacuation

    Supreme Court refuses to hear couple’s appeal

    Lung Association offering free radon test kits

    April 18, 2014

  • Man admits to choking; rape case is dropped

    A Greenville man on Thursday pleaded down a rape case to simple assault and continued to deny that he committed any sexual crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge issues tabletop ads injunction against couple

    A judge recently handed down an injunction prohibiting a Sharon man, his wife and two companies associated with the wife from working in the tabletop advertising business within 100 miles of Sharon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Tech waste eyed for new contact

    The current Hermitage solid waste contract was designed to increase recycling while reducing the amount of garbage placed at the curb, and it has lived up to its promise.

    April 18, 2014

  • WaterFire Rekindled

    WaterFire Sharon has chosen themes for its festivals to be held on three Saturdays in downtown Sharon. “Elements” will be the theme July 19, “Origins” for Aug. 23 and “Motion” for the Sept. 27 celebration.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 17, 2014

    Man arrested for running from accident scene

    UPMC, Southwest eyeing security at hospital

    Crashes cause diversion of Interstate 80 traffic

    Court supports prison term in chase case

    Woman gets 5-10 years in crash that killed officer

    April 17, 2014

  • Officials pledge support to sewer project

    Publicly declaring their intention to donate county land to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority, Commissioners Matt McConnell and John Lechner said there’s no need for Commissioner Brian Beader to worry about the loss of the sewer project at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange.

    April 17, 2014

  • Griswold Avenue fire Neighbors tried to save victim

    As flames and thick smoke poured out of a Sharon house Tuesday evening, neighbors rallied to try and save the man who lived there alone.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault

    Southwest Mercer County Regional police have arrested a Hermitage woman for breaking into a home in Farrell and beating a woman and are seeking the alleged assailant’s sister.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite good deeds, man going back to prison

    Linda K. Kretzer had nothing but praise for Raymond C. McKelvey.

    April 16, 2014