Saturday, December 27, 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

Suisun Valley celebrates appellation’s anniversary

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Suisun museum adds Japanese-American internment exhibit

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Beer for 1st butterfly of year challenge returns

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Fairfield firefighters save Christmas for family

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
SF Giants championship trophy coming to Vacaville

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Fire damages Fairfield home

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Car rolls over on Highway 113

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Fairfield man killed after family gathering in Napa

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4

 
USA Weekend magazine ceases publication

By Glen Faison | From Page: B6

Suisun City police log: Dec. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

.

US / World

Lawmakers promise to help strapped oil-patch towns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Feline fame in cyberspace gives species a boost

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

At 101, dedicated union rep is calling it quits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Can GOP shatter ‘Obama coalition’ in 2016?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

GPS used to track some immigrants caught at border

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Opinion

A proud man, a good honorable man

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

.

Sports

Anthony Davis, Roman meet over tweet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Cleveland reaches 50 years of sports futility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Games to Remember from 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Suns outlast Kings 115-106 for 5th straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

La. Tech beats Illinois 35-18 in Heart of Dallas Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Arizona’s Lindley back at starter, Stanton has infection

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Prep JV boys basketball: Vanden gets win in Dixon tourney

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Could Watt be 1st NFL MVP from defense since Taylor in 1986?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dan Uggla joins Nationals for minor league deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Georgia’s Richt: RB Todd Gurley heading to NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Slumping New Jersey Devils fire coach Pete DeBoer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
No. 1 Kentucky, No. 4 Louisville resume rivalry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders rookie CB makes most of opportunity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
High-scoring offenses create longer college games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Anderson: post-game petulance was out of character

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Chiefs QB Alex Smith out with lacerated spleen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Globetrotters’ Robert ‘Showboat’ Hall dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NC State wins Bitcoin Bowl to cap turnaround year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rutgers beats North Carolina in Quick Lane Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Weather for Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B11

.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
.

Home Seller 12/27/14

Average US 30-year mortgage edges up slightly

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for Dec. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2