Sutton pleads guilty to DUI

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Linden businessman Goodloe Sutton appeared in Demopolis municipal court Monday to plead guilty to charges of Driving Under the Influence.

Sutton, the publisher of Linden newspaper The Democrat-Reporter, was arrested last September 4 by Demopolis police officer Terrance Smith. According to statements made at the time of arrest by acting Demopolis Chief of Police Jeff Manuel, officers responded to an E-911 call claiming that a truck, later determined to be Sutton’s, had been weaving drunkenly across traffic lanes on Highway 80.

After noting Sutton’s change of plea (which had previously been “not guilty”), municipal judge Woody Dinning Jr. sentenced Sutton to a pay $728 in fines and court costs, and suspended Sutton’s driver’s license.

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The “guilty” plea represents something of a change in tune for Sutton. Last September he published a self-written column in the Democrat-Reporter, stating that he had had nothing to drink before the arrest but Coke, and that the Demopolis officers were “laying in ready” for him to “exact revenge for stories which cast them in a public light.”

This was disavowed by Manuel, who stood by his officer’s reports. The reports stated that after being pulled over by Smith into the old Wal-Mart parking lot on 80 East, Sutton failed a field sobriety test and refused to take the Breathalyzer test for a blood-alcohol reading.

“The little machine on the highway scene didn’t register Coke breath,” Sutton explained in his column, “so maybe we could get some other kind other kind of breath in the police station.”

In the column, Sutton also expressed a wish to report on life in prison. He will not get that chance now, however, as he will not serve any jail time, being told by Dinning, “You are free to go.”