At least 80 arrests, 7 felony convictions. Why was chase suspect out of jail?

August 03, 2018 07:08 PM

How can a man who has been arrested more than 80 times be out in our community continuing to commit crimes?  

Since his arrest following a wild police chase on Wednesday night, News10NBC has been digging into the extensive criminal history of Elbert Davis.  


For decades, Davis has been committing crimes, pleading guilty, spending short stints in either prison or drug treatment and then getting back out on the streets.

The cycle just continues and it's infuriating to those trying to keep our community safe. 

Police say this time around, Davis was in a stolen car when he stole beer from a local gas station and led them on chase through Henrietta, Brighton and Pittsford. 

At one point, Davis is accused of driving the stolen car directly at police officers, clipping the leg of a Brighton officer. 

"This started out as a simple petit larceny of beer from a convenience store and nearly wound up with an officer being hurt or killed," says Brighton Police Captain David Catholdi.  

Davis' previous seven felony convictions are for stealing cars, cash and credit cards; all non-violent offenses so the state's predicate felon law, which would mandate significant jail time, does not apply.   

But police say, something's got to give. 

"The part that frustrates us in law enforcement is that this guy is going to kill someone…his rap sheet is 80 pages long, the guy has been on parole four different times and violated four different times. This will be his fifth, we hope, (he has) multiple felonies and multiple misdemeanors," says Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter.  

News10NBC asked Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley what happens from here. 

"We have on the books, and it's not used very frequently, a persistent felony offender statute for non-violent offenders," she explains.

Why hasn't the DA's office tried to use it against Davis in the past? 

"Perhaps we should have made that argument back in February of 2018 but again, this is something that the judge has to go along with and we're faced with a reluctance from the bench for them to actually adjudicate someone as a persistent offender when it's all non-violent offenses," District Attorney Doorley says.

Law enforcers think maybe instead of leaving it up to a judge's discretion, Albany should make some changes to the actual penal law so it better protects the community from criminals who keep repeating their bad behavior. 

"Sooner or later there has to be a stick in the system, something that makes these people want to change their behavior or-else and what we're not seeing is the or-else," says Sheriff Baxter.  

A slew of charges against Elbert Davis in relation to Wednesday night's chase are still pending. He is currently being held without bail at the Monroe County Jail.  


Jennifer Lewke

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