By Sam Poe
Friday, August 23, 2013 | 12:38 AM
During a recent meeting to consider a revocation of the business license for the sale of alcohol for 2013 for Captain Dave's, it was noted that Dave Alexander was cited for allowing the consumption of alcohol inside Captain Dave's after midnight on June 2, 2013, which is a violation of the Haleyville Alcohol Ordinance (2010-04 Section 9). Alexander was cited due to being the person listed as in charge of the sale of alcohol on the night the citation was issued. This case was heard in the Haleyville City Court Thursday afternoon, and Alexander was found guilty of the Class C misdemeanor. City Judge, Johnathan Lowe, removed himself from the case due to a conflict of interest because of representing another party in another case involving Alexander. Judge Daryl Burt heard the case.
The trial opened with testimony from Officer Eddie Collins of the Haleyville Police Department. Collins was the officer who issued the citation to Alexander. Collins testified that he was doing a routine patrol at approximately 12:05 a.m. and entered Captain Dave's. Collins stated that when he entered the establishment, there were seven patrons inside the building, and five of the seven patrons were in possession of an alcoholic beverage. Collins then stated the waitresses were scattered throughout the establishment working on various tasks, and Alexander was singing at a karaoke machine on the stage. Collins waited several minutes before any employees noticed him inside the establishment. Once a waitress noted his presence, she began gathering the alcoholic beverages from the bar and tables. Collins stated one of the patrons questioned where the waitress took his beverage when she left the area, indicating he was not finished with the beverage. Collins noted the bottle was almost full when he observed. Collins also stated he called the other two officers on duty and requested for them to join him at Captain Dave's at that time.
When approached by a member of the wait staff, Collins stated he requested to speak with Alexander because he was listed as the responsible person for alcohol sales that evening. Collins stated he had also had a prior in-depth conversation with Alexander regarding this specific section of the Alcohol Ordinance due to a bit of confusion, but no further incidents had been noted since July 2012 when the conversation took place. At that time, Collins stated Alexander confirmed he had a clear understanding of the ordinance. During Alexander's cross examination of Collins, Alexander stated just because the containers were on the tables did not mean the patrons were still drinking, and there is not an ordinance making it illegal for the containers to remain on the tables after midnight. However, Collins stated the patrons were "in a position to drink" and seemed to be in no hurry to rid the tables of the beverages. Collins also reiterated the point that one patron asked for his beverage after the waitress took it away, indicating he had been consuming the beverage when she took it.
Next, Alexander called his wife, Julie Alexander, to testify for the defense. Mrs. Alexander stated that Collins came into the establishment a few minutes after midnight, and two other officers joined him a few moments later. Mrs. Alexander stated she and two waitresses were at the computer when Collins arrived, but she did not talk with him. Mrs. Alexander stated there were a few patrons left inside the business, and she noted there were a few empty beverage containers on the tables, but she could not recall any containers with beverages still in them. She stated it took the waitresses ten to fifteen minutes to collect the containers after Collins arrived, and she stated that Collins had a clear view of the entire building during this time.
Mrs. Alexander stated the staff at Captain Dave's has been working diligently to follow the Alcohol Ordinance since her husband's prior discussion with Collins. She stated they usually make the last call for alcohol around 11:40 p.m., and no alcohol is served after that time. She also stated after the last call is made, staff members "rush" customers to finish their drinks so they can be collected around 11:55 p.m. Mrs. Alexander stated that it is not uncommon for patrons to remain inside the establishment after their midnight closing time because they choose to sit and talk; however, she stated no alcohol is allowed. Mrs. Alexander stated they have strictly enforced the ordinance since the original conversation with Collins. She stated they have been so strict with the rules, several customers have become angry, and some even refused to pay their bills before leaving the premises.
Upon completion of Mrs. Alexander's testimony and cross-examination, Alexander called Officer Dustin Witt to be the next witness. Witt stated he arrived at Captain Dave's around 12:10 a.m. on the night in question. He stated that he and Officer Heath Lewis were requested at the establishment for back up once Collins arrived and observed the violations. However, Witt stated the beverages had been removed from the tables and bar by the time he and Lewis arrived, and he did not observe any violations of the Alcohol Ordinance. Witt explained he was there to ensure the safety of Officer Collins.
Once both sides indicated they had finished presenting their information, the judge ruled on the matter. He found Alexander guilty for violation of Haleyville Ordinance 2010-04 Section 9. Alexander was fined $250 plus court costs. Judge Burt stated he could issue jail time with this finding, but he did not find it necessary at this time. However, he explained the consequences would be much more extreme if a similar case is brought before the court again.
Although Alexander was found guilty for allowing the consumption of alcohol after midnight at Captain Dave's, no action has been taken by the Haleyville City Council regarding the revocation of the business or alcohol licenses for the establishment. However, Alexander voluntarily relinquished both the alcohol and business license since the revocation hearing, and Captain Dave's is not open for business at this time.