Wise County is scaring me a little bit. I have had discussions with some of the prosecutors about their desire to require SCRAM devices as a condition of probation in some selected cases. Those devices are not-so-little ankle bracelets that detect alcohol intake and record it. Each night the defendant plugs the device into a modem and the daily readings are sent off to Big Brother. In some cases, I'll admit, this might make sense. As one prosecutor correctly noted, a guy who gets two or more DWIs would not be a "criminal" if we could separate him from alcohol. But then I got a call from an old client who had been arrested for DWI. Frankly, it was his second arrest for such an offense. But imagine my surprise when he told me that the SCRAM device had been ordered as a condition of his bond. Understand what that means: Before the case is even filed in court, he is required to install the device on his ankle. (The statutes allow for an interlock device to be imposed as a condition of bond for DWI-2nd or greater but they say nothing about SCRAM devices.) Some of you hardliners might be saying, "Good! If I had my way I'd keep him locked up until his trial." (That due process thing can get in the way sometimes.) But here's the kicker, when my client got to the jail he agreed to blow into the Intoxilyzer. He didn't think he was drunk, and he was right. I saw the paperwork: The results came in less than .08. But that didn't stop a Justice of the Peace from imposing the SCRAM device as a condition of his bond. And click on that image to discover the cost. Incredible.
at 1:47 PM