The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ)
SIX-PACK FOR MUSCLES
Davis withdraws motion, accepts guilty plea deal and gets 6 years
TRENTON — Mayor Tony Mack’s half brother, Stanley “Muscles” Davis, was sentenced to six years in prison on two counts of official misconduct on Tuesday.
Prosecutors accused Davis of masterminding a scheme where he and other city employees accepted compensation for private work while simultaneously receiving payment from the Trenton Water Works in 2010.
Davis, 51, seemed to stride into the courtroom, despite having his hands cuffed and feet shackled together. He lovingly winked at his wife and smiled briefly at other supports, like half-brother Ralphie Mack, who were seated in the second row of the court room.
Defense attorney John Klamo requested to question his client on the record, “Mr. Davis I’ve filed the motion on your behalf to withdraw the not-guilty plea,” said Klamo. “Yes,” said Davis. The defendant, who originally pleaded guilty to misconduct charges in January, reversed his plea to not-guilty during a bail hearing in late August. Judge Fleming denied bail, keeping Davis incarcerated for over 30 days.
The judge looked at Klamo and asked “Are you withdrawing your motion to withdraw the guilty plea?” After a moment of confusion, Klamo agreed.
At Tuesday’s sentencing, Fleming ensured that both the defendant and his lawyer were clear about reversing the plea back to guilty and that the defendant understood the terms of the plea agreement. “Mr. Davis, are you thinking clearly today?,” asked the Judge. “Pretty much,” said Davis. Davis’ attorney pleaded with the court for leniency, providing character reference letters from Davis’ family members, his pastor and from Assemblywoman Bonny Watson Coleman. “I just ask (if) the court could give some greater weight to Bonnie Watson Coleman’s letter and some of the people who are here on behalf of Mr. Davis,” said Klamo.
Davis’s attorney painted his client as a model citizen whose last run-in with the law was in the 1990’s. The defense argued that Davis is being discriminated against because of his ties to the Mayor. “It is up to your honor,” said Klamo. “Your honor can completely wave the full mandatory period of parole and eligibility. My argument to your honor is that your honor make a further departure from what the state has offered,” he continued.
Davis and co-workers Robert Keith Williams, 50, and Wally Nance, 45, were arrested after a prosecutor’s office sting that found the men making repairs on a South Ward home in early November 2010. Mercer County detectives learned that Davis and his standby crew allegedly had started to excavate the outside of the home on the evening of Nov. 5, but were diverted to an actual emergency on Nov. 5, 6 and 7, and were unable to complete the job.
On Nov. 11, however, Davis and a crew of five other Water Works employees returned to the home for an “emergency.” Mercer County detectives conducted surveillance and observed that there was no evidence of an emergency. Davis and the crew were allegedly paid holiday wages for this private work. Based on this investigation, Mercer detectives set up a sting operation using a house in the South Ward. As part of the operation, an undercover police officer met Davis, who agreed to accept two cash payments to perform private work at the house.
Detectives then observed Davis and six other Water Works employees close off the street, excavate a large hole in the street and install a new water service. All of this was on overtime and it was also called in as an emergency.
Prior to any work being performed, it was confirmed that there was nothing wrong with the water service at this location, said Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini.
During Davis’ sentencing, Judge Fleming upheld the prosecution’s plea deal of six years in jail with a four year minimum period of parole for both counts of criminal misconduct. The judge also imposed a lifetime ban for any public employment after Davis is released.
“I’ve reviewed the letters from his family, his pastor, from certain other officials in the community,” said Fleming. “The risk of Mr. Davis will commit another offense is entirely in the realm of possibility and that this offense would have continued but for the sting operation of the prosecutor’s office.”
The judge noted that Davis involved a breach of the public trust and it caused all taxpayers and rate payers’ additional funds.
“The numerous letter writers have asked me to consider the need for mercy and I have considered that just as the Mercer County prosecutor’s office considered that in entering the plea bargain,” said Fleming. “However, the interests of justice require that I adhear to the plea agreement as presented by the state.”
When asked if Davis had anything to say to the court, he simply replied, “I would like to apologize to my family, my community, my wife and kids, and to the city of Trenton, which gave me an opportunity for a job, I just want to apologize.”