COURT WATCH: Accused Ordered to Wear SCRAM Device Despite Defense Concern About Negative Employment Implications 

By Maeve O’Brien and Aria Jalan

WOODLAND, CA- In an arraignment for two consecutive Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges, Judge Catherine Hohenwarter in Yolo County Superior Court Monday ordered the accused to wear a SCRAM ankle monitor device, despite the defense concern that SCRAM device conditions are invasive and a hindrance to current and future employment opportunities.

Deputy District Attorney Ashley Harvey argued the accused was a public safety risk after picking up two DUI convictions one month apart.

The accused was present in custody with a public defender and Spanish interpreter. The SCRAM device will be placed this Thursday. Additional documents need to be filed as the accused did not speak English and was not presented with Spanish documentation in court.

While Deputy Public Defender Matthew Lanthier offered alternatives to the SCRAM device such as blood alcohol testing and working with the probation officer. Judge Hohenwarter ruled against it, ordering the SCRAM device because of the repeated DUI charges.

DPD Lanthier told the court the scram device was an invasive obstacle to the accused’s current employment status, charging, “The scram conditions are invasive, embarrassing, and lead to employment problems.”

DDA Harvey did not feel it would affect the accused’s job working in the kitchen of a restaurant, stating the “SCRAM ankle monitor does not have any employment impact for working in a kitchen. He is most likely wearing pants that are not tight. It will not be noticeable by co-workers or the employer.”

Even though DPD Lanthier argued since the accused’s blood alcohol level (BAC) of .12 was significantly lower in his second DUI offense, versus the original BAC of .21, Judge Hohenwarter did not feel it was significant enough to dismiss the SCRAM order.

Judge Hohenwarter emphasized frustration that the accused disobeyed the court order and the terms of probation to not consume alcohol after attending the jury trial, stating, “Court is concerned about (the) second DUI right after being presented in front of a jury.”

About The Author

Maeve O'Brien is a second-year UC Davis student, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Human Rights. By joining the Vanguard Court watch, Maeve hopes to expand her journalistic skills, while gaining first-hand experience and perspective. She hopes to carry her passion for social justice advocacy and equity into Law School. She is inspired to be a voice for those undermined by everyday injustice. In her free time, Maeve enjoys swimming, yoga, writing, and spending time with friends and family.

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