Authorities said the former judge was found sleeping in his van, slumped over the steering wheel.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- A former Niles Municipal Court judge must complete an in-patient alcohol treatment program after a jury found him guilty of DUI.
Judge Michael A. Bernard of Girard Municipal Court also ordered Charles Zubyk, 76, of East Second Street to pay a $250 fine and court costs and to serve one year's probation. Zubyk's driver's license was suspended until Dec. 2, but he maintains occupational driving privileges.
Zubyk's attorney, Emmor F. Snyder of Girard, said they may appeal.
Found sleeping: Police filed the charge against Zubyk on June 2 when authorities say he was found slumped over the steering wheel of his van, sleeping, along the side of the road. The van was a short distance from Zubyk's home.
Zubyk refused a breath test, but authorities say he smelled of alcohol and failed several sobriety tests.
A five-man, three-woman jury deliberated for about 11/2 hours before convicting the former judge.
Response: "I still feel I'm innocent of the offense," Zubyk told the judge after the verdict. "The car was not in motion."
Zubyk had testified that the car keys were on the seat, not in the ignition.
He objected to a portion of the jury instruction that said the defendant didn't have to have the vehicle in motion, or intend to put it in motion, to be considered the operator of the vehicle.
Snyder said in his closing argument that Zubyk suffers from sleep apnea and an equilibrium problem.
"He admits to having drank," Snyder said. "He didn't have to get on the stand and admit to having two shots and a beer."
But that doesn't mean he was drunk, he said.
Closing statement: Robert Johnson, city prosecutor, pointed out in his closing that Zubyk didn't present evidence at trial of either sleep apnea or problems with equilibrium.
He also gave inconsistent statements about the amount of alcohol he consumed, the prosecutor said. Zubyk also was offered the opportunity to take a breath test but refused, Johnson said.
"Look at his actions," Johnson told jurors. "There are certain reasons for his actions."