COURT WATCH: Judge Orders Installation of SCRAM Device in DUI Case – Unemployed Accused Agrees after Only Option Was Jail

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By Kaveh Nasseri

WOODLAND, CA – This week in Yolo County Superior Court, a visiting judge ruled a man accused of his second driving under the influence/DUI must wear a SCRAM device on his ankle—Deputy Public Defender Chris Conde suggested the alternative of regular AA meetings, but this option was rejected by the court.

The accused, a 21-year-old man, had been charged with one DUI on March 15 and another on June 17. In a pretrial conference regarding his second DUI, Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Allen requested the court “add a condition of SCRAM,” or the imposition of an alcohol monitor.

She described the accused as driving at high speeds, being uncooperative with officers, and driving without a license. “I believe he is a significant public safety risk,” said DDA Allen in arguing for the added condition of installing the device.

“I understand Ms. Allen’s concern for public safety,” said DPD Conde in response. He explained the accused “is currently unemployed with no car and no working phone,” arguing that it would be a great hardship for the accused to put on the monitoring device and communicate with probation regarding the device.

“Because he is 21 years old, he does realize that having two DUIs in that short period is an issue for him,” DPD Conde said. “As an alternative to SCRAM, he would be willing to do AA sessions between now and the next court date,” he added.

DPD Conde argued that regular AA meetings would provide the accused with the “structure and support” that he would not get from an ankle monitor.

“I don’t think SCRAM is actually gonna be a lesson for him, or for anyone for that matter,” said DPD Conde, describing the monitor as a “highly invasive” device. He added that it would be difficult for the accused to have it installed in the first place, as the accused has no phone, no car, and no employment.

“The problem with driving under the influence is…even a really kind-hearted, good person can kill somebody,” said the visiting judge, filling in for Judge Samuel McAdam. “Because of these incidents happening within a short period of time, I’m gonna grant the DA’s request and order that you wear this alcohol monitor,” he ruled.

The judge did not address the possibility of AA meetings but gave the accused the alternative option of being placed in jail. After briefly consulting with DPD Conde, the accused said he would prefer the monitoring device to custody.

The judge then ordered that the scram device be installed. Probation officer Sam Perri, present at the conference through Zoom, clarified the accused would be paying for the device himself. “Because he’s unemployed, that’s part of the hardship,” said DPD Conde in response.

The prosecution argued the accused could be transferred to formal probation, thereby allowing probation to pay for the device.

Perri said that, for probation to pay for the device, the accused would have to be placed on supervised release. He also clarified that the device does not require the accused to physically report to the probation department.

“He can be issued a base station,” said Perri. “His bracelet will communicate to the base station daily.”

The accused agreed to have the device installed under supervised release, and the judge sent him to the probation office for the installation. The next court date was set for Oct. 9.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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