SCRAM Violation? Maybe, Maybe Not...

From an out of state commenter:

I received a summons today to appear in court next week. The papers did not even include what the appearance would be for. I have been on the SCRAM bracelet for two months now. This is the second time that I have been notified of violation of the bracelet.

The first was just a failure to download. I just received a prerecorded phone call for that violation, "no biggy." Today when I called the court house to find out why I had to appear, I was informed it was a violation from SCRAM.

I then called SCRAM. I asked what the violation was and when it occurred. She informed me that the violation was tampering, then implied that I had stuck something between the bracelet and my skin.

I have a witness that knows that I was not drinking. I know this does not matter because our judicial system fails all the time and has already convicted me of this DUI that I was
innocent of. I have come to terms with the fact I was found guilty of the DUI. How am I supposed to come to terms with being violated for something that I did not do?

My bracelet is often too tight or way too loose. I also suffer from the scratches and cuts caused by the bracelet. I am female and I know that water weight and bloating are causing the scratches and cuts. I think it has also caused the tampering violation.

The only way something was placed in between is if it happened while I was sleeping.

I understand your cynicism about the system, but it is too early to despair. SCRAM devices are a subset of devices, aka machines, and are far from infallible. For example, check out D.A. Confidential’s full post entitled “A Fine Piece of Lawyering”. It tells the story of a supposed SCRAM violation and the defense attorney that wouldn’t quit until his client’s pleas of innocence were finally vindicated.

First, the accusers:

…the people responsible for the SCRAM came into court.

They showed [the judge] their proof, a print out of a black-and-white graph.

On that graph were two lines, one showing whether the SCRAM had been tampered with, one showing whether Mr. Smith had been drinking. Both lines spiked. Thank you SCRAM people, Mr. Smith stays in jail.

Ah, but was that what really happened? Did the defendant really violate his terms of release, or was it possible that – despite the SCRAM company line – he was innocent of wrongdoing?

So [the defense lawyer] went back to the SCRAM office and obtained another copy of the graph. But he made to sure to get a print out in color, not just a photocopy. Lo and behold, the color graph contained three lines (as opposed to two), each a different color:

  • one showing whether Mr. Smith used alcohol

  • one showing whether Mr. Smith tampered with the SCRAM

  • one showing Mr. Smith's body temperature

The spikes were in the bottom two lines, the ones showing body temp and tampering. The line showing his alcohol use was a flat-line at the bottom of the graph, and had been mistaken by everyone as the baseline, the line you'd draw at the bottom of every graph.

Ooops. Mr. Smith had not, it was now clear, used alcohol.

How does this apply to the commenter’s situation?

But that still left the tampering spike. Well, the ever-diligent [defense lawyer] obtained the second page of the SCRAM report, which showed examples of spikes when the SCRAM had aluminum shoved under it, a wet cloth stuck under it, and when a sock got stuck under it.

Guess which it was? Right, the sock.

DAC’s post goes on to say that the SCRAM folk showed back up in court and “accepted responsibility” for their mistake. Really? What might that entail? Giving this poor fellow whatever he spent on attorney’s fees? Maybe turning back the clock and not jailing him in the first place?

If “accepting responsibility” means showing up in court and telling the judge what he already knows, that is, that you presented yourself as an expert but don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t know how to read your own company’s “graph charts”, and unfairly incarcerated someone, then perhaps they did. I don’t know, I wasn’t there.

So, to the commenter, get a lawyer who will bring your witnesses to court, and who knows how to track down the rest of the story, who doesn’t accept whatever the company line is at face value, and you just might be alright.

Good luck.
 

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Comments (4)Subscribe to Comments on this Entry Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Dottie - January 30, 2010 4:58 PM

Very interesting article. Good luck to the commenter & hopefully she has a very good lawyer!

terry - March 19, 2010 2:53 AM

i am the first and only one in ventura co. california to wear this 24/7 alchol monitoring battery opperated, phone line and computer communication device. i have a pending case in ventura courts, iam concerned of any malfuntion this or any electrical, battery computer monitored equipment would have. i have had many communication alert issues already. i volunteered for this. and after going over the time my probation said i should wear it. i was worried enough to ask for it off. and they said i now have to wear it. it is not even legal here. not judge reconized. i am concerned now even more. can i be made to wear this when it is not a law here. not a court order, or nothing. idont mind wearing the device, i have been sober forover a year. i dont approve of the way the people behind it aretreating me.they mislead me to beleive they were helping me help myself.

monika - September 14, 2010 12:15 PM
fatimaarahman - September 16, 2011 2:17 AM

I got a tampering warning on my scram and spent 50 days in jail for something I DID NOT do. I got another tampering recently and was told the last time that I would do hard jail time. I can't make anyone belive me and only I know the truth, I never tampered with it. The truth hurts.

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