Sutton set for court; claims cops seek revenge

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 4, 2004

A Linden newspaper publisher, charged with driving under the influence, is scheduled to appear in municipal court Monday in Demopolis.

Goodloe Sutton, arrested Sept. 4 on U.S. Highway 80 East, will enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty when he appears before Municipal Judge Woody Dinning Jr. on Oct. 4. If he pleads not guilty, Sutton will be assigned a trial date – most likely Oct. 25. If he pleads guilty, he will be sentenced for the misdemeanor charge.

According to Jeff Manuel, public safety director and acting police chief in Demopolis, someone called E-911 on Sept. 4 when Sutton’s truck was seen weaving in and out of traffic on U.S. 80 West. Police responded to the call and stopped Sutton in the old Wal-Mart parking lot on U.S. 80 East.

Police reports indicate Sutton refused to take a breath test and that he failed a field sobriety test.

Sutton, however, has publicly disputed police reports and has claimed police were “laying in ready to exact revenge for stories which cast them in a public light, which was distasteful to them.”

In a story published in his newspaper, The Democrat-Reporter, Sutton said he wanted to report on life in prison. Though he did not indicate that he purposefully set up an arrest, Sutton said police charged him with DUI for no reason.

Before driving into Demopolis, Sutton said he and a passenger had visited Belmont around 4 p.m. that day and both were served “coke and sprite sodas…”

After a caller notified 911 that Sutton’s truck had veered between traffic lanes, Sutton said three or four police cars “converged” on his truck. After police said Sutton failed a field-sobriety test, Sutton was taken to police headquarters where he said he was questioned again.

“The little machine on the highway scene didn’t register coke breath so maybe we could get some other kind other kind of breath in the police station,” Sutton wrote. “Not explaining we’d had coke was not wise on our part.”

In his published article, Sutton said Demopolis Police helped him get a story inside the Marengo County Detention Center.

“To get the story is the goal,” he wrote. “To get help from the Demopolis Police Department to get inside the jail was not anticipated in this manner, but it allowed the inside jail story to be told.”

In the end, Sutton said his reason for arrest must now be defined.

“All that’s left is to explain the law and resolve this matter with the cops and their bosses in Demopolis,” Sutton wrote.

Manuel said he stands by his officers and their report on Sutton’s arrest.