Presumptive Kiowa County Attorney and current Assistant Ford County Attorney Jonathan Scott James has been officially charged with driving under the influence stemming from his March 31, 2012 arrest.
Ford County Special Prosecutor and Edwards County Attorney Mark Frame filed the criminal complaint on behalf of the State of Kansas on Aug. 9 in Ford County District Court, charging James with one count of DUI. The complaint lists Kansas State Trooper K.E. Hemel, Ford County Sheriff’s Officer Dale Coleman, Western Plains Hospital personnel and a K.B.I. forensic scientist as witnesses.
Results of the blood test taken on the night of the incident are reported to show James had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .18 percent, more than two times the Kansas legal limit of .08 percent.
A Dodge City Globe article reported during a discussion with Frame it was discovered that this was James’ second DUI charge.
A second DUI conviction, classified as a non-person Class-A misdemeanor, would bring a minimum fine of $1,250 and a sentence of between 90 days and one year in jail. However, a judge can order a suspension or probation for the remaining sentence, after a mandatory five consecutive days in jail. State statutes allow work release after serving 48 hours in jail.
The complaint was filed on Aug. 9, two days after James won the Kiowa County Republican Primary over incumbent Candace Lattin. Frame reportedly received James’ blood test results on July 1.
Frame, who has handled similar cases since 1995, said the delay in prosecution was because he had been awaiting reports from both the Ford County Sheriff's Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol.
"I prosecute these cases just like any other case," Prosecutor Frame said. "I try to handle all of my cases as consistently as I can."
In an interview with The Dodge City Daily Globe in July, James admitted to refusing the breathalyzer which triggered a standing warrant to take the blood test.
The standing warrant had been put in place by current Ford County Attorney Terry Malone. Malone lost his re-election bid to challenger Natalie Randall on Nov. 7.
James was served a summons and has been requested to appear in Ford County District Court on Aug. 30 at 1 p.m.
According to Ford County Court records, James was pulled over by deputy Coleman on March 31, 2012 at about 11 p.m. Coleman cited James for a lane violation then called the Kansas Highway Patrol to investigate the incident as a DUI.
James has worked for the Ford County Attorney's office since 2010, exclusively prosecuting suspected gang members.
Abigail Wilson of the Dodge City Daily Globe contributed to this report.