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Judge orders man to seek help for alcohol abuse

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Test reveals blood alcohol content of .227

By Linda Ireland

A Hodgenville man drew the ire of LaRue County District Judge C. Derek Reed when he allegedly showed up in court intoxicated - for the second time.

Robert Earl Burk, 45, was charged June 2 with alcohol intoxication, first and second offenses. His arraignment in District Court was June 16.

When Burk approached the bench, Judge Reed asked if he had been drinking. Burk said he had been drinking the previous night. Reed said there was a strong odor of alcohol about Burk and required him to take a Breathalyzer test before he accepted his plea of guilty.

When he returned to the courtroom, Reed told him he had recorded a blood alcohol level of  .227 which rendered him incapable of making an informed decision. The legal limit for driving is .08.

Burk’s companion said he had used mouthwash before coming to court.

Reed chastised Burk for being in court “flat-foot drunk” and insisted he seek help. Burk agreed to the judge’s terms and to enroll in Communicare.

On May 12, Burk was charged with alcohol intoxication in a public place after he started singing in the courtroom when Reed was making opening remarks. The singing “caused annoyance,” according to the arrest report.

Burk was in court to answer a complaint of domestic violence that allegedly occurred in February. He had failed to appear March 17 and Reed issued a bench warrant. Burk eventually pleaded guilty to harassment on May 19.