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Voters may not see resolution in Quinton Lucas DUI case ahead of April vote

Who will replace Sly James as mayor of Kansas City? Meet the candidates vying for the city’s top job.

Meet the candidates running for mayor of Kansas City.
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Meet the candidates running for mayor of Kansas City.

They say the wheels of justice turn slowly, and court proceedings in Councilman Quinton Lucas’ DUI case are no exception.

Lucas, one of 11 candidates in the race to succeed Mayor Sly James, was arrested in Lawrence in October and charged with driving under the influence after an officer found him asleep in his parked car. He has maintained that he recognized he couldn’t drive and decided to wait in his car until he could get back to Kansas City safety.

Nearly six months later, his case in Lawrence Municipal Court hasn’t been resolved. And it may remain that way until after voters head to the polls for the April 2 primary election. The city’s prosecutor has pushed the case back to April 11.

For his part, Lucas said he would love to have it over with.

“I think that would be easier, but what I said I was not going to do for the past six months is — I’m not just going to resolve the case...with an admission of either guilt or some sort of other type of thing when I don’t think there was even a crime in this situation,” he said.

He noted the prosecutor, Elizabeth Hafoka, could still elect to dismiss the case ahead of the April vote.

Hafoka filed a motion earlier this month to move Lucas’ next appearance “due to the insufficient time to respond to the defendant’s motions.”

Lucas’ attorney, Tim Riling, filed a motion last month to dismiss the case and supplemented it with additional information earlier this month, 10 days ahead of Lucas’ since canceled court date.

In the motion, Riling argued the officer who arrested Lucas improperly escalated the encounter beyond an initial welfare check. Officers were initially dispatched to the scene, according to the motion, because a bystander called 9-1-1 to report a medical emergency after seeing Lucas asleep in his car. The motion and supporting document also argue Lucas never attempted to operate the vehicle and therefore didn’t commit a crime.

Hofoka declined to comment on the case.

Lucas is running against fellow council members Alissia Canady, Jolie Justus, Jermaine Reed, Scott Taylor and Scott Wagner; transit activist Clay Chastain; Crossroads businessman Phil Glynn; bank branch manager Henry Klein; Vincent “The General” Lee; and construction attorney Steve Miller.

The primary is April 2. The two top vote-getters will move on to a June runoff.

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