Why has the corruption case of former MSP lieutenant Luke Davis dragged on for over two years?

DETROIT (WXYZ) - It's been four-and-a-half years since police raided the home of a former Michigan State Police lieutenant accused of turning a drug task force into a personal piggy bank. He was officially charged more than two years ago and the case still has not gone to trial.

The 7 Action News Investigators first broke details of this sordid corruption case back in 2010 have been following developments ever since.

Now some of our viewers are asking; what's the holdup?  So we decided to look into this case of justice delayed to find out what's taking so long.

As a high-ranking cop known for taking a lot of drugs off the street, Luke Davis was a fixture in Monroe County courthouses.  He was tight with judges and prosecutors, and a number of them were guests at his wedding years ago. So when Davis found himself on the wrong side of the law in those same courts, his ex-wife Melanie, who helped prosecutors bring their case, felt it should have been moved out of Monroe County to a neutral spot.

"This is where Luke has worked very intimately with the judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, all from here for approximately 25 years of his career," said Davis' former wife Melanie Jacobs

And as the case dragged on for months, then years, Jacobs wasn't the only one raising questions. We got emails from 7 Action News viewers asking what was taking so long. One viewer wrote "Locals wonder if they are trying to squash this as it may involve higher officials yet?  Have you heard anything more?  Another wrote "What is taking so long with the Luke Davis Trial?  Why is his trial even in Monroe?  What's the delay, REALLY?  We deserve answers."

The 7 Action News Investigators pulled court records on the case and sent them to our legal analyst Tom Cranmer.  You'll get his take on why this case has dragged on in a minute.  First, here's a timeline on the Luke Davis case.

  • December, 2008, state police raid Davis' home looking for evidence or corruption.
  • December, 2010, the 7 Action News Investigators break details of the investigation and reveal that Davis is still drawing a full pay check.
  • February, 2011, Davis is finally arrested and charged with 24 counts including running a criminal enterprise.  Another State Police Lieutenant and a civilian are also charged.
  • October, 2011, Davis and his co-defendants have a preliminary hearing in Monroe District court. That hearing goes on for 8 months with lengthy delays between court sessions.
  • August, 2012, the defendants are arraigned in Monroe County Circuit Court setting the stage for a trial.
  • May 13 th, 2013.  That's the date that the case is finally scheduled to go to trial. 

So what took so long? 

Legal analyst Tom Cranmer says it appears that the police investigation took two years because it was a complex case with a long paper trail and a lot of witnesses to track down and interview.

And what about the court hearings that dragged on for two-and-a-half years?  Cranmer saw nothing in the court records suggesting Davis and his co-defendants were given any special favors to slow the case down.

"Well it certainly has been a long and winding road, hasn't it been?  It's a complicated case involving a number of different lawyers.  You have to coordinate their schedules. There was some change in lawyers in terms of representation and I think all of those things added together contributed to the more than ordinary delays," said Cranmer.

Luke Davis, former Michigan State Police lieutenant Emmanuel Riopelle , and civilian Laurence Dusseau allegedly conspired to steal property that was confiscated in drug raids by the drug task force called OMNI that Davis ran.

Prosecutors claim the defendants stole cell phones, computers, big screen TV's, motorcycles, a golf cart, designer purses, jewelry and more. They allegedly kept some of the confiscated items for themselves, and sold the rest for cash.

Neither of the judges who attended Davis' wedding are hearing the case and the prosecution never tried to have the trial moved out of Monroe. Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Michael LaBeau is presiding over the case and he has told the parties that there will be no more delays; the trial will begin on May 13.

 

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