Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lawyer shows up in court for a DUI hearing drunk.

Benton attorney Jerry Stewart was cited for contempt and jailed Monday after showing up legally drunk for a bench trial in Saline County Circuit Court.

Stewart, 59, was on trial for a driving while intoxicated charge that was appealed from Saline County District Court-Benton Division, said Ken Casady, county deputy prosecutor.

Stewart is represented by Benton attorney Dustin Dyer.

Stewart was convicted Feb. 15 in District Court for striking a garage in the 600 block of South Street with his Dodge Ram pickup while intoxicated. The accident occurred March 5, 2004.

Results of Stewart's blood-alcohol test in court on Monday registered 0.12 percent blood-alcohol concentration. Special Circuit Judge W.H. “Dub” Arnold sent Stewart to jail, holding him in contempt of court.

The state's legal blood-alcohol limit is 0.08 percent.

A jury trial is scheduled for Thursday on a separate DWI charge. That charge stems from a Feb. 11, 2004, incident in Haskell.

Haskell police Officer B. Carter stopped Stewart and learned that Stewart's driver's license had been suspended for a previous DWI charge. A portable blood-alcohol test given to Stewart at that time registered 0.262 percent blood-alcohol concentration.

A Jan. 12 court date is set for another DWI incident that occurred in Haskell on Sept. 29, 2004, Casady said.

Stewart was found guilty of a first-offense DWI on Dec. 14, 2001, Casady said.

If convicted on the two counts of third-offense DWI, both counts would result in a fourth-offense DWI conviction, which is a felony, Casady said. Stewart faces up to six years in prison, Casady noted.

Along with Casady, the state is represented by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andy Gill.

Monday's hearing has not yet been rescheduled.

Source – BentonCourier.Com