Baseball

Major leaguer Austin Kearns pleads guilty to DUI in Jessamine

This is a 2011 photo of outfielder Austin Kearns of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. This image reflects the Cleveland Indians active roster as of Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
This is a 2011 photo of outfielder Austin Kearns of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. This image reflects the Cleveland Indians active roster as of Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan) ASSOCIATED PRESS

NICHOLASVILLE — An attorney for Cleveland Indians outfielder Austin Kearns entered a conditional plea of guilty to a drunken-driving charge Tuesday but said his client plans to appeal a judge's refusal to dismiss the case.

Lexington attorney Noel Caldwell entered the plea on behalf of Kearns before Jessamine District Judge Janet Booth.

Kearns, 30, was not in court; out-of-state defendants are allowed to enter pleas without being present.

Under normal circumstances, Kearns would pay $718 in fines, service fees and court costs. His license would have been suspended until he completes certified DUI treatment classes.

But the fines and license suspension are on hold for as long as an appeal is pending, Jessamine County Attorney Brian Goettl said.

There was no immediate response Tuesday from the Cleveland Indians' front office. Caldwell declined to comment on what, if any, disciplinary action Kearns might face from the team.

Kearns, a Lexington native, was stopped early Feb. 12 by an off-duty Lexington police officer on Golf Club Drive off U.S. 68 in Jessamine County.

A police report said the Cadillac Escalade that Kearns was driving was weaving on the road and was going down an emergency lane without headlights.

Kearns refused to take field sobriety tests, and later, at the Jessamine County jail, he refused to take a breath test to measure his blood-alcohol level.

In May, Booth overruled a defense motion to dismiss the DUI charge. The defense had argued that the case should be thrown out because the Lexington police officer who stopped Kearns was outside his legal jurisdiction.

But a law enforcement officer may ask a police officer from another county to assist, and the assisting officer has the same powers of arrest in the requesting county that he possesses in the county in which he is an officer, according to state law.

Entering a conditional plea allows Kearns to appeal his case to Jessamine Circuit Court. Caldwell said he has 10 days to enter a notice of appeal and then 30 days to file the appeal.

  Comments