Sunday, August 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

’10-shots-of-booze’ defense falls flat

By
From page A4 | June 20, 2013 |

FAIRFIELD — A three-day jury trial with some odd twists for an accused drunken driver ended Wednesday with the judge slamming the defendant.

Halfway through the trial the defendant, James M. Yurkis, 39, disappeared.

Judge Alesia Jones decided to go on with the trial without Yurkis, whose attorney, Denis Honeychurch, stuck around until the end.

“I don’t know what has befallen my client,” Honeychurch told jurors in his closing argument, gesturing toward the empty chair at the defense table.

Yurkis’ absence pretty much gutted any defense case Honeychurch planned to counter the prosecution case about events one night in July 2010. That case included testimony from Fairfield police who described finding Yurkis’ wrecked truck plowed into a wall at his apartment complex before finding Yurkis in his apartment bleeding profusely from a cut on his head.

He said he’d been drinking beer at his apartment and earlier in the evening at Chevy’s but he was vague about how much beer he had downed.

Police said Yurkis reeked of alcohol and a blood-alcohol test after he was arrested reflected his blood-alcohol concentration was 0.23 percent – nearly three times the legal limit.

Honeychurch told jurors his client was not drunk when he wrecked his truck and that he had used alcohol as a painkiller. Honeychurch said it was conceivable that his absent client had downed 10 shots of hard alcohol in the 25 minutes that passed between the wreck and when officers knocked on his apartment door.

Jurors rejected the 10-shot defense and found Yurkis guilty of a pair of misdemeanor charges. It was Yurkis’ second DUI conviction.

Jones sentenced Yurkis to six months of jail time, fined him more than $2,100, ordered him to do 150 hours of community service and to get an ignition interlock device on his truck, and to attend drunken driving classes.

Honeychurch labeled the punishment as retaliation for his client’s disappearance.

Jones ended the trial by issuing a $50,000 warrant for Yurkis’ arrest.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or jsullivan@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Bill of RightsJune 20, 2013 - 6:04 am

    6 months for a 2nd DUI conviction? Well, at least it is time behind bars. Refreshing to see a Solano County Judge handing out a decent form of punishment. And for Honeychurch to add insult to injury by complaining 6 months is harsh and retaliation is a typical defense attorney slime! Thank god this person didn't kill anyone and his actions only effected himself. Well not really because it is us taxpayers who will be footing his bill once he has bee arrested.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 20, 2013 - 8:13 am

    Like I always say, DUI laws are nowhere near strict enough. First offense should come with a $10K non-refundable penalty to unlock the cell door with bail and other penalties and fines to follow. That would be a good start. A second offense should carry a mandatory five years prison sentence. Nuff said.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JusticeJune 20, 2013 - 12:22 pm

    Can't do prison for a misdemeanor and if you could the jails would be overflowing and the state would be bankrupt. Close the borders first, then see the crime rate drop

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Nurse-family program helps moms, moms-to-be

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Garamendi ranks 6th on DC paper’s franking list

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Area service members promote, graduate

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: C4

Fairfield payments to golf courses expected to drop

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A6

Suisun City police log: Aug. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A6

 
.

US / World

Angels use 8 pitchers to beat A’s 2-0, extend lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
.

Opinion

Thanks to Tomato Alley volunteers

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
No justice, peace without effort

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Faison identified location properly

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
.

Living

1 God, 2 faiths, a marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: D2

 
Utah approves winery in town with polygamous sect

By The Associated Press | From Page: D2

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: C5

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: D6

Wilder memoir to give gritty view of prairie life

By The Associated Press | From Page: D6

 
Publisher acquires Robin Williams biography

By The Associated Press | From Page: D6

Amazon starts selling physical books in Brazil

By The Associated Press | From Page: D6

 
.

Sports

Prep football preview: Vacaville still team to beat in MEL

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Gordon says Stewart could run strong in Atlanta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Peavy takes no-hitter into 8th of Giants’ 3-1 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Suzann Pettersen tied for Portland Classic lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bob Tway shoots 63 for share of Calgary lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
With heavy heart, Kuchar hovers around the lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Isner loses to Kohlschreiber in US Open 3rd round; Serena advances

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Bocce Federation League results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B3

Bouhanni wins 8th Vuelta stage, Valverde leads

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Fighter War Machine extradited on assault charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 1 Comment

Timberwolves have record week after trading Love

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Schumacher wins Traxxas Nitro Shootout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Kevin Harvick dominates to win Atlanta Nationwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
No. 11 Stanford routs UC Davis 45-0 in opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

College football Top 25

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Raiders cut Little, Ross to get to 53

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Champ Bailey, Michael Sam among NFL cuts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Jonathan Martin makes 49ers’ 53-man roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

US dominates Finland 114-55 in basketball worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Ferguson fallout: A call for police ‘body cams’

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Earthquake insurance shunned by vast majority of Californians

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C1

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
.

Obituaries

Lois C. Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Hazel Gertrude Wamsley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jerry Lee Trammell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

 
.

Comics