Archive for Monday, October 25, 2010

District attorney: Congressional candidate Kevin Yoder entered guilty plea in 2009 to not taking breath test

October 25, 2010, 12:24 p.m. Updated October 25, 2010, 5:14 p.m.


2010 Kansas Elections: U.S. House of Representatives, 3rd District

Kevin Yoder, Stephene Moore and Jasmin Talbert are running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 3rd Congressional District.

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Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate Kevin Yoder pleaded guilty to refusing to take a preliminary breath test in connection with a 2009 incident, Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said Monday.

“If someone is going to obstruct a DUI investigation, we are going to require that they plead to refusal of a PBT,” Branson said Monday.

Yoder’s campaign said he was not driving under the influence.

“Kevin was pulled over for speeding,” said Alissa McCurley, a spokeswoman for Yoder. “He was asked to take a field sobriety test, which he passed.”

Some questions have arisen about whether refusal to take a preliminary breath triggers suspension of a driver’s license by the state.

James Keller, deputy general counsel for the Kansas Department of Revenue, said that isn’t the case.

“We don’t suspend for a person refusing to take a preliminary breath test,” Keller said.

Yoder, an Overland Park Republican and current state House member, faces Democrat Stephene Moore and Libertarian Jasmin Talbert in the Nov. 2 election. The 3rd District includes eastern Lawrence and Douglas County plus Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

Yoder, driving a 2002 Lexus, was pulled over on Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence by a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper at 2:31 a.m. Feb. 8, 2009, Branson said.

He was given a ticket for going 80 mph in a 70 mph zone and for refusing to submit to the preliminary breath test. It appears he was given a citation at the scene and not taken into custody.

On March 25, Yoder’s attorney Scott Gyllenborg filed a motion for a continuance because of a court conflict, and the matter was rescheduled for April 3, according to the Douglas County district attorney’s office.

On April 3, Gyllenborg appeared and requested a continuance to apply for a diversion for Yoder.

But the district attorney’s office said in a statement: “Mr. Yoder ultimately did not apply for diversion but entered into a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office.”

On June 4, Gyllenborg on Yoder’s behalf entered a plea of guilty to refusal to a preliminary breath test. The court ordered a $90 fine plus court costs.

“We view the refusal of a preliminary breath test as an obstruction of a driving under the influence investigation and therefore we require a plea to that charge,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan. “The speeding infraction was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.”

Moore’s campaign manager Matt Sinovic criticized Yoder’s actions.

“Kevin Yoder’s irresponsible actions … are inexcusable. His lies in attempt to cover up these facts are an insult to the voters of the 3rd District,” Sinovic said.

McCurley defended Yoder.

“He was issued a speeding ticket and then asked to take a preliminary Breathalyzer test. He declined because he had passed the sobriety test. Kevin was not driving under the influence. He paid the fine for one citation, the other was dismissed,” she said.

A preliminary breath test is a portable device that can measure whether there is a high concentration of alcohol.

Keller said the results cannot be used as evidence in court. They are usually used to assist an officer in determining if there is reasonable cause to make an arrest or grounds for an officer to request that the person take a more accurate breath test. Refusing to take the more accurate breath test can result in suspension of a driver’s license, although there are several ways to appeal that action in an administrative review and court review.


lawrenceguy40 7 years, 7 months ago

Another lame attempt by the liberals at mudslinging. Though I would have preferred Patricia Lightner, Kevin Yoder still has more morals in his little finger than moore has. He chooses to uphold his Fourth Amendment Constitutional rights, despite the risk of prosecution by overzealous law enforcement. He doesn't support baby murder, as moore does. And he doesn't support mooching off of your neighbors.


Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 7 months ago

When you've spent your entire professional life in the Kansas Legislature and are now angling to serve in Congress, I'm not sure you can say you don't support mooching off of your neighbors.

Jake Esau 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm frequently on K-10 and I don't think I've seen a car on that highway going less than 80 at that late at night...

Joe Hyde 7 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps KHP procedures are such that the Trooper was required to ask Mr. Yoder to take both a field sobriety test (balance, eye tracking, etc.) and a field breathalizer test? If so, that procedure is excessive in my view.

While performing traffic stops for speeding -- especially at early morning hours like 2:30am -- KHP troopers and law enforcement officers everywhere are automatically suspicious that DUI was a component in the speeding violation. Troopers, probably more than most, are highly adept at using their own senses to detect drivers who pose a threat to themselves and others.

So if you remove the breathalizer machine from the equation, the fact that Mr. Yoder was allowed to continue on his way after this traffic stop, after a field sobriety check that involved a few minutes of visiting (which lets a Trooper further evaluate a driver's condition) this much tells me that in the Trooper's experienced judgment Mr. Yoder was good to go.

Maybe the procedure needs to be changed so that the two tests are kept separate until the second is deemed necessary by the officer. That is to say, if the physical and verbal field sobriety tests are passed then the DUI investigation forthwith ceases, there is no further testing done, the driver is free to go. However, if in the officer's judgment the field sobriety test indicates a dangerous level of impairment, then the investigation may proceed to breathalizer territory.

Requiring drivers to take a breathalizer test after they've passed a field sobriety test is unwarranted and I'm glad it's not being done that way in Kansas. Still, why make officers ticket people for "interfering with a DUI investigation" after a field sobriety test already determined they were not impaired? A procedure like that shows a lack of trust in the officer's judgment.

kansasredlegs 7 years, 7 months ago

One important factor getting lost in the politics is the fact this KHP Trooper should be commended on doing his job within the parameters of the law. Law enforcement's attitude generally is tag 'em and bag 'em when it comes to DUIs. This Troop applied the facts to the law and the law won. No reasonable grounds to arrest. So, Ms. McGowan's comment is completely off base. "Obstruct", really? Didn't read that he was charge with Obstruction. Funny, how the "fog" of politics obscures both the mind and mouth.

Absolutely, positively and forever exercise your Constitutional Rights. Never succumb to the pressure of the MAN and take any of these tests, field sobriety tests, PBT, at the site of the vehicle stop. The entire process is used to get you to bear witness against yourself, e.g., on video the entire time trying to be one of the Flying Wallendas.

There is no law that "requires" you submit to field sobriety tests. The PBT, preliminary breath test, is a traffic infraction and DOES NOT cause your license to be suspended. Additionally, it is so unreliable that the PBT is not even admissible at trial. Surprising that Mr. Branson, our top prosecutor, did not know that. I guess being in "public service" for almost 8 years now makes one forget how to practice law.

The fact that Trooper Fisherman let the fish back and swim away shows that the Trooper did not have 'reasonable grounds' to believe that Mr. Yoder was legally impaired enough to request a formal breat test at the Douglas County Jail.

Khublai_Juan 7 years, 7 months ago

This is what I was thinking when I read the charge about "obstruction." How it can be an obstruction of an investigation to refuse a breathalyzer test? The Fifth Amendment of the Constitutions has a line that says no one, "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." I don't see how being forced to take a breathalyzer is anything but being forced to bear witness against yourself.

getreal 7 years, 7 months ago

I guess I can't understand why a lawmaker who supposedly had not been drinking would refuse the request of the officer to participate in a breath test? Quite an example he is setting for students at K.U., simply refuse the request of an officer.

kansasredlegs 7 years, 7 months ago

Exactly!!! "Simply refuse the request of an officer." You are right. This is the best example a legislator could have shown Kansas citizens. The lesson is one that all citizens should learn, especially KU students which is to exercise your legal rights and refuse to cooperate with and/or speak to any law enforcement officer who has YOU in his sights, period!!!

chzypoof1 7 years, 7 months ago

Come on run this today, on the same day you give his opponent "air time" on your site? And she attacks him frequently in her comments?

I'm not a Dem or Repub...but that's justa tad slanted, dont ya say?


jonas_opines 7 years, 7 months ago

Especially since he appears to be wrong. I believe that refusal to take the test at the jail after arrest leads to suspension of your driver's license, but the PBT just results in a fine.

WHY 7 years, 7 months ago

No, government attorneys hate to do real legal research so it is easier just to guess at the law. I am not being sarcastic. They just fill out forms and do the same thing they did in the last case cut and paste which is why you should get a good attorney who will find the mistakes and get you off for next to nothing.

lgreen17 7 years, 7 months ago

This DA has not seen the inside of a courtroom the entire time he's been elected (as a so called Democrat). This is exactly why he need to go, Branson that is, he doesn't even know the simple laws on DUI, the biggest money maker for DG county.

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 7 months ago

As long as ignorance serves its intended political purpose, especially in regards to the Douglas County DAs, no one from the lovely, enlightened state of KS has any room to comment.

QuinnSutore 7 years, 7 months ago

Just another example of another liberal fascist cop trying to throw everything at a politician in the hopes that something sticks. Sobriety test doesn't work? Give him the breathalyzer! That doesn't work? Take a bottle of tequila, a funnel, and a taser, and voila, you have a drunk politician.

I don't see how liberals defend this when their patron saint Ted Kennedy has a blood type of Grey Goose.

CreatureComforts 7 years, 7 months ago

Are you saying that the Trooper, pulling over a car on the road, automatically recognized him as a low-level politician of a certain party and thus decided to treat him differently because of it? I follow politics pretty closely, and I would never have been able to pick out Kevin Yoder before this election, by name or face...

or by cop do you actually mean the DA?

jonas_opines 7 years, 7 months ago

I think it's probably a mistake to assume that they are really saying or meaning much of anything.

At least, anything of value.

QuinnSutore 7 years, 7 months ago

And by "politics" you mean "Ron Jeremy", right?

I'm not debating a clown with a XXX star avatar, sorry.

QuinnSutore 7 years, 7 months ago

Haha, you're like a kid on the playground. "Yeah, well, if I fought you I would totally win!"

Love your avatar, by the way. Never seen Pelosi without her makeup before.

CreatureComforts 7 years, 7 months ago

1) What am I debating? I asked a very simple question...are you saying that a KHP Trooper pulled over a car, automatically recognized it was a low-level politician from a different county, and decided he would go after him?

2) So, because I have an avatar of someone other than a politician, I clearly know nothing about politics? In that case, if we are going off of avatars, you know nothing about anything...

QuinnSutore 7 years, 7 months ago

It's just fitting for someone who's a huge...

Eh, it's not even worth my time anymore.

gatekeeper 7 years, 7 months ago

Envious??? You just wish you could be Ron.

Why don't you respond to the question? You should respect someone with that large of a member. Big guys have brains too and he's making an excellent point! :-)

mbulicz 7 years, 7 months ago

The liberal fascist cops? Oh no! Do they go around beating everyone with their bleeding hearts?

There isn't even enough logic and coherence in this post to even rebut. If you could be reasoned with, you wouldn't post this jumble of nonsense. I guess I will just sum it up and say that it's a shame the public education system failed you so badly.

Bobo Fleming 7 years, 7 months ago

Actually he could have told the officer he was going either to or from legislative business and therefore was immune from arrest. A speaker of the Kansas House did this in my county years ago.

SoundMind 7 years, 7 months ago

Hey, Journal World - the name of the guy who works for the KS Dept. of Revenu is KELLER - Jim KELLER - not "Zeller."

Good lord can you not even get the simplest things right?

WHY 7 years, 7 months ago

How are they going to get the details when they miss the big picture in every report.

David Albertson 7 years, 7 months ago

Another hypocrite Republican driving a foreign car, speeding and obstructing the law. Wow, I'm shocked. That does it for me, I'm voting for Moore.

David Albertson 7 years, 7 months ago

After the mess the Bush machine left behind, I will never, ever vote for a Republican. I'm way more anti-republican than pro-democrat. I don't think the Dems are perfect but they aren't nearly as corrupt and dishonest as the GOP. Apparently I'm not the only one who is completely fed up with the GOP. Just ask the Tea Party.

BTW - I'm not as far left as you think. I'm a gun owner, I'm against late term abortion and for the death penelty. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

David Albertson 7 years, 7 months ago

Remember what happened last time we put a drunk Republican in charge?

David Albertson 7 years, 7 months ago

You would be singing a different tune if you had a family member that had been killed by a drunk driver. Mr. Yoder was risking other peoples lives, whether he was drinking or not. This is not the kind of person I want representing me.

David Albertson 7 years, 7 months ago

Speeding. That's why they pull you over and give tickets.

Fatty_McButterpants 7 years, 7 months ago

So if his speeding was how you came to the conclusion that he "was risking other peoples live," why do you even mention drunk drivers?

p.s. I'm sure you have NEVER exceeded the posted speed limit. Mercy! That would make you just as bad as Mr. Yoder!

gr3sam 7 years, 7 months ago

Sad: I really thought Branson and Co. were above engaging in such small time antics.

David Albertson 7 years, 7 months ago

If you don't like this country, you are free to leave at any time.

invision 7 years, 7 months ago

So the elephant in the room is why is a guy coming back from Lawrence at 2:31 in the morning during the middle of a legislative session in which he was appropriations chairman? On a sunday night no less. Hmmm..

Centerville 7 years, 7 months ago

At least he didn't leave his Blackberry someplace, shall we say, untoward.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 7 months ago

If he passed the field sobriety test, then why was he asked to take the PBT?

That's the big question here. There is no reason, nor I assume no protocal, to move to the PBT if the field sobriety test passed.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 7 months ago

"On June 4, Gyllenborg on Yoder’s behalf entered a plea of guilty to refusal to a preliminary breath test. The court ordered a $90 fine plus court costs.

“We view the refusal of a preliminary breath test as an obstruction of a driving under the influence investigation and therefore we require a plea to that charge,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan. “The speeding infraction was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.""

This right here is the meat of the matter. He made a speeding ticket and refusal to do the PBT "go away" for 90 bucks. Thus the speeding ticket , which would have gone on his driving record and insurance record, disappeared. Not only that he did it for probably half the money anybody else would have paid for the ticket. I also wonder why this matter even required an attorney. Most people get speeding tickets, show up and pay them and go on with their lives. Like I said must be nice to have money and friends in high places.

Bobo Fleming 7 years, 7 months ago

its a non moving violation. It was plead out in the same way that hundreds are handled every year in Douglas County. No big deal and wouldn't have garnered any attention except that its Yoder and its a week before the election. But no matter. Yoder will win and Moore will remain in DC working for a lobby firm.

monicalewinsky 7 years, 7 months ago

Ask Kevin Yoder about his "open marraige" with Brooke, his wife. Suddenly she comes back after 2 years being gone back to Kentucky to stand by her man until he gets elected. The problem with Kevin is he has no convictions other than to be his own little opportunist. "Family Values" for republicans means for everyone except them. You Republicans can have him, he doesn't stand for anything except "Kevin". He won't even stand for a breathalizer even though he "hasn't been drinking" Yeah, right.

whatzit 7 years, 7 months ago

I am glad I am not the only one concerned about his open marriage

invision 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure there are a few KU students that can confirm this "arrangement."

JustNoticed 7 years, 7 months ago

Kudos to the right-wing nut job for saying no to the Trooper. Let's just hope the fool doesn't get elected, but not because of this slander.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

2:31 am driving on K10. No big deal. This is a non-issue.

As an elite, his special abilities guarantee that he is above the law. He can't be held to the same petty standards as you and I. The elite need the veil of secrecy so that they can conduct their business without fear of interference from the masses.

Ted Kennedy and Kevin Yoder are both elites who have trouble with alcohol. This should not have been reported. Now that it has been, it is a non-issue.


JustNoticed 7 years, 7 months ago

His marriage should be of no concern unless he's espousing one thing and living another. Then it's a concern because he's a hypocrite. But if a candidate has an open marriage and doesn't pretend otherwise, who cares?

David Albertson 7 years, 7 months ago

I can only imagine what the conservatives would be saying if it were a Democrat that refused a breathalyzer test. They'd be ready to hang him from the closest tree. This reminds me of when their superhero Rush was found out to be a pill addict. I have to laugh at how he rails against drug addicts and yet he is one himself. Kinda like Ted Haggard railing against homosexuals and yet he pays for male prostitutes. What a bunch of hypocrites.

blindrabbit 7 years, 7 months ago

If this was/is "no big deal" why didn't Yoder bring this up himself instead of being "discovered" by the media or his opponent. Ya can't something a secret anymore!

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

I think it's the part about refusing the breathalzyer test, which is considered obstruction of a driving under the influence investigation.

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago


And, according to the story, Branson is quoted as saying if someone is going to obstruct a DUI investigation, they are required to plead guilty to refusing a breathalyzer test.

Sounds like he considers the refusal to take that test as obstruction.

Jimo 7 years, 7 months ago

There was a time when a respectable newspaper had a reporter 'down at the courthouse' to notice stories like this when they occurred rather than discovering them nearly two years later.

Pleadings and court dockets are public so how did the LJW miss the story?

jafs 7 years, 7 months ago

According to a little research I just did, it is currently illegal to refuse to submit to a blood test, etc. to determine alcohol use when driving in KS.

I believe the law was strengthened this year.

So, all of you advocating "Just say no" might want to reconsider that.

Google DUI penalties KS.

beatrice 7 years, 7 months ago

So if a cop comes to your house and wants to see ID to prove that you actually live there, you should shut up and just comply (as many of you same people said about professor Henry Gates not too long ago), but if the same cop asks you to breathe into a tube to prove you aren't a menace to society by driving drunk you should tell the cop to shove it. You have your rights, after all!

Wish you conservatives would make up your minds. Should we comply and do as cops ask, or shouldn't we not?

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