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State of Alabama Verses Retha Critten

Rickey Stokes

Viewed: 3790

Posted by: RStokes
Date: Jun 11 2019 10:40 PM

HOUSTON COUNTY:    In criminal jury trials this week a case called to trial today before Circuit Court Judge Butch Binford was State of Alabama verses Retha Critten.

Ms. Critten was arrested on May 13, 2017 for Possess/Receiving of a Controlled Substance. A felony offense. 

A Houston County Grand Jury, which is 18 people, who only hear one side of the story, they meet in secret, issued an indictment on April 13, 2018.

Today Ms. Critten was represented by Attorney Shaun McGhee of Smith and McGhee Attorneys At Law. The case was prosecuted by the 20th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Office.

The Honorable Circuit Court Judge Butch Binford called the case to trial. Circuit Clerk Carla Woodall sent a jury panel to the courtroom. The attorney handled voir dire, and a jury of 12 was selected and the case was off and running.

This case resulted from Ms. Retha Critten calling Dothan Police Department and reporting a rolling domestic case. 

A rolling domestic case was she and a male subject were in the truck together and in a argument or dispute that was domestic related. Critten's boyfriend was driving the truck. 

Dothan Police Patrol Division stopped the truck which resulted in a search of the truck.

Not on Ms. Critten but on her boyfriend a crack pipe was found. The testimony was the Dothan Police drug K-9 hit on the driver side of the vehicle. Ms. Critten was the passenger and in the passenger seat.

Nothing was found on Ms. Critten or on her side of the vehicle in the testimony under oath in court.

Items were found on the driver side of the vehicle. Testimony of the pipe, pill bottle on him, in his truck.

Testimony was some pieces of cocaine were found. 

So Ms. Critten was arrested for the criminal drug offense.

Testimony from the Dothan Police Officers. The officers did their job. 

Testimony from the Forensic Scientists of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. The testimony was these six pieces of cocaine had a weight of .006 grams. Remember this testimony was the cocaine was found between the console and the driver seat. Ms. Critten was in the passenger seat. Testimony was Ms. Critten called Dothan Police because of the domestic issue on going as the truck was rolling down the road.

The forensic scientist employed by the State of Alabama testified that a paper clip weighs 1 gram. This cocaine was equivalent to one paper clip being cut into 100 pieces.

As the trial concluded before the closing arguments and jury charges, after the prosecutor heard the actual testimony, the prosecutor did the right thing.

He asked the Judge to dismiss the charges against Ms. Critten. Judge Binford granted the motion of the prosecutor and the case never reached the jury for a verdict.

The evidence was extricated from the Dothan Police Officers and the scientist of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences by Defense Attorney Shaun McGhee.

The officers did a professional job and testified professionally, truthfully and honestly. The scientist testified honestly and truthfully.

Afterwards and the prosecutor heard all of the facts, the 20th Judicial Circuit Prosecutor did as he should. And that was to ask the Judge to thrown this case out. And Judge Binford granted that motion.

Law Enforcement Officers are often times placed in difficult circumstances. And it is not a reflection on the officer the case was dismissed or even if a jury finds a person not guilty. As long as the officer made reasonable decisions and not making cases just to make cases.

In this case, based on the testimony I do not think arrest was made just to make a case. But it was considered after all was calm, which was not calm on the night of the arrest, and a reasonable and intelligent final decision was made. 

Defense Attorney Shaun McGhee did an excellent job in getting the testimony on the table as to the facts. So all could know the facts. McGhee is good and methodical in doing so.

And the prosecutor was bold, a man, and did what he thought was the right thing to do.

The officer(s) did their job. The attorneys did their job. And the Judge did his job. And the system worked to the end of Lady Justice being honored.

Shaun McGhee is in the firm of Smith and McGhee, Attorney at Law. Their office is located on West Main Street on the west side of Justice Park.

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