COURT WATCH: Prosecution Suggests Court Disregard Probation Mistake to Extend SCRAM for Another Year, Send Accused to Jail for 90 days – Judge Disagrees

By Cynthia Hoang-Duong

WOODLAND, CA – Disagreeing with the prosecution, Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock imposed only 30 days of jail time and extended a man’s SCRAM alcohol and location monitoring device for another month because he violated his probation.

Tuesday morning, the accused admitted his violation of probation for consuming alcohol during his probation period, with the understanding that the court would follow probation’s recommendation of 30 days of jail time. Probation Officer Vanessa Flores confirmed the probation department’s recommendation.

However, Deputy District Attorney Frits van der Hoek said he disagreed with the recommendation, stressing the accused is a repeat drunk driver and that the SCRAM violation occurred in a felony DUI case that caused injury.

He complained it was unreasonable for the accused to violate his SCRAM, receive 30 days of jail time, and then have the device removed.

The DDA proposed that, with admission for violating probation, the court should impose a one-year extension and raise the recommended jail time to 90 days. He claimed individuals typically maintain sobriety on the SCRAM device for short periods, but those with serious problems with alcohol consumption tend to commit SCRAM violations.

Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt refuted this argument, explaining the accused was sentenced for the felony conviction in August, but had already worn the SCRAM device three months earlier. The court had ordered the SCRAM device to be installed for nine months with 90 days of credit.

Based on the DPD’s calculations, the SCRAM device should have been removed in February, noting, “The unfortunate thing for [the accused] is that SCRAM was not lifted pursuant to the court’s sentence due to perhaps inattentiveness by probation. I think probation recognizes that mistake.”

This means that the accused has already been on SCRAM for 11 months, two months past the removal date, according to the DPD.

Given that he only had one violation during this additional period and no new law violation, Van Zandt claimed the recommendation was appropriate. He reminded the judge 30 days is well within the typical recommendation for a first-time violation of probation, especially when the accused did not violate a new law.

The judge requested Flores contact the accused’s supervising probation officer for his opinion on a SCRAM extension, as it was previously not noted in his recommendation.

After a few minutes, the supervising probation officer Joe Rodriguez appeared via Zoom. He relayed that, initially, probation was supposed to remove the SCRAM in February but the SCRAM device stayed on longer than anticipated due to a miscalculation.

He clarified his reasoning for the 30-day jail time. The accused had incurred the alcohol violation during the additional SCRAM period, adding, “Since his arrest in February, he’s been on SCRAM since then and has incurred no more SCRAM violations.”

The DDA maintained his opposition to the recommendation, suggesting that probation’s mistake of leaving the accused on SCRAM a month longer than he had been ordered was not relevant to determining the length of the SCRAM installment for violating probation.

He emphasized the accused was a repeat drunk driver who injured another person and reminded the judge that the probation terms instructed against the consumption of alcohol.

He asked the court to disregard the miscalculation.

“Putting aside the fact that probation made a mistake and just looking at the factors that are relevant here, as far as rehabilitating the defendant and protecting the public, I think People’s request of the year-extension of SCRAM is entirely appropriate,” summarized van der Hoek.

Judge Mock agreed to probation’s 30-day jail time recommendation and reinstated the accused on probation, but extended the SCRAM for another month until May 11. This means the accused has worn the SCRAM device for an additional three months from the court’s original order.

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