Davis pleads not guilty to theft and misconduct

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Marilyn Davis, 73, former village clerk of Sherrard, appeared in Mercer County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008, with her court appointed public defender Clarence M. Darrow for a preliminary hearing. She waived her right to a formal arraignment and pled not guilty to the two charges she is facing - theft in the amount of from $10,000 to $100,000 and official misconduct of a public official for personal gain. The defense is asking for a jury trial.

Davis has been the village clerk in Sherrard for around 40 years.

A motion for a bill of particulars was filed by the defense.

"This is an accounting case," said Judge James G. Conway.

A manila folder with about four inches of paper was produced by Mercer County Sheriff's department investigator Jeff Dale, collected from the accounting firm for the village of Sherrard. Dale was also sworn in and testified about the home Davis lives in, which is valued at around $115,000. The defendant has been released on her own recognizance, for the bail amount equal to the value of her home. Dale testified that she does hold a mortgage on her home.

State's Attorney Gregory McHugh said the state was still in the discovery process. The charges against Davis are based on the dates between Dec. 31, 2003 and Dec. 31, 2007.

Public defender Darrow said that until he received the particulars of the case he would need more time to prepare his defense.

The court put the defense on notice to have the particulars of the case ready for the defense within 28 days.

If convicted, Davis faces from 1-22 years in the department of corrections, according to Judge Conway. He said that she is being accused of dispensing unearned and unauthorized salary to herself.

The court agreed to a Feb. 23, 2009 trial date at 9 a.m.

A Dec. 1, 2008 pretrial conference date was set at 9:30 a.m..

The state asked that the defendant be ordered by the court to not dispose of any of her property over the value of $500.

Judge Conway agreed that the defendant be restrained from transferring or borrowing against her home. She also will be allowed to travel in Mercer County, to Indiana, where one of her sons lives and to Scott County, Iowa, but not to Florida, where another of her sons lives.