Former Prichard cop’s lawyer wants bail for his client, alleged victim held in contempt

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A former Prichard police officer accused of domestic violence asked a judge on Wednesday to reinstate bail and hold the alleged victim in contempt.

Mobile Cunty District Judge George Zoghby, who heard testimony on Monday, said on Wednesday that he would consider both issues and rule at a later day.

Markell Anthony Carter, 28, of Chickasaw, was a Prichard police officer when authorities charged him with domestic violence in March. The city’s assistant police chief testified Wednesday that Carter resigned about a month ago.

Carter was out on bond when police arrested him again on new allegations of violence against the same woman, Tanesha Doucette, stemming from an altercation on Easter Sunday. Zoghby revoked his bond, and he has been jailed ever since.

Defense attorney Scott Hawk, noting that the judge ordered both Carter and Doucette to stay away from each other, asked the judge to hold the woman in contempt. He said Doucette, by her own testimony, violated that order by going to Carter’s house over Easter.

“She disrespected the integrity of the court. … She clearly disregarded a lawful court order,” he told the judge.

Hawk said the lease to the house is in Carter’s name and that he was a rightful resident. He said Doucette should not have come to the property.

“Not contact. Stay away. It’s real simple,” he said.

But Doucette’s attorney, Charlie Pearman, pointed to his client’s testimony on Monday.

“You heard her testify that she felt controlled by him at all times and that she is just now coming out from under that,” he said.

Pearman pointed to several prior domestic violence arrests on Carter’s record.

“How does a person with four prior domestic violence arrests be allowed to be a first responder?” he said.

Hawk fired back, noting that the prior cases either had been dismissed or ended with his client’s acquittal.

Zoghby expressed a measure of skepticism at Hawk’s characterization. He asked the attorney how his client should have responded when Doucette came to his house.

“What should he have done on day one?” he asked.

Hawk acknowledged that Carter should have called the authorities, but he argued that does not absolve Doucette’s conduct.

The couple’s interaction during the Easter holiday turned violent, according to testimony. Hawk noted that a Chickasaw police report lists his client as the victim and that Carter had injuries, including a bite mark

Pearman told FOX10 News that Hawk left out important details during his presentation to the judge.

“He failed to mention that it was his client who induced my client to go there, that it was his client who was controlling my client,” he said. “And he failed to mention that it was his client who wound up with the eight new charges. And the reason that he was bitten was because she was getting him from him off of her.”

On the bond issue, Hawk argued that his client is entitled to bail and that the “evidence against this person is extremely weak.” He asked the judge to “take mercy on Mr. Carter,” who has been locked up for 103 days and faces danger inside Mobile County Metro Jail.

Juanita Carter, the defendant’s mother, urged the judge to let him out.

“He has two young kids he needs to see, and his father is having open-heard surgery,” she said.

Carter told FOX10 News that she worries for her son’s safety and health.

“He has high blood pressure, and he needs to be seen by a doctor,” she said. “His foot is swollen. They don’t have the direct medicine down there to take care of your swelling and for his feet.”

But Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Blanchard rejected the suggestion that Carter should be released because of the threat to his safety in jail.

“The state’s position is that it’s the exact opposite – that it’s the victim’s safety that’s at risk,” she said.

Hawk told FOX10 News that Doucette was the aggressor.

“My argument is that it was the defendant’s property,” he said. “He was on the lease. She came to him. And, I mean, she came to him on Easter weekend. And I think – I think he’s the victim in this case.”

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