The Bar News

DUI sentencing: Is SCRAM flying under the radar?

Judge Gregory Paul Vazquez thinks so, at least in Cook County where he sits. As a result, lawyers are missing a powerful sentencing option, he writes in the latest ISBA Criminal Justice newsletter. "The SCRAM [Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring] device is simply an ankle bracelet that the subject wears to monitors alcohol intake. This monitoring occurs on a 24/7 basis and is measured by the perspiration given off by the human body. More specifically, the device captures transdermal alcohol readings from continuous samples of vaporous or insensible perspiration collected from the air above the skin. The defendant’s monitoring bracelet sends a signal to a remote location and notifies the provider when a violation or alcohol intake has occurred." So how might SCRAM come into play? Judge Vazquez offers an illustration. "For example, an attorney may find himself defending a client who has had a DUI 10 years ago. Jail time, even if a remote possibility, may still be on the table. Here the judge may desire not to send the defendant to jail if doing so may cause great suffering to the defendant’s family, such as loss of defendant’s employment, inability to attend to a sick family member who solely relies upon the defendant, and other similar circumstances. In this situation, use of SCRAM technology may provide a sentencing alternative; a condition that not only protects the public but also provides a step towards rehabilitation." Interested? Read the article.
Posted on October 19, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
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