Wednesday, June 09, 2010

SCRAM: AMS Claims Another Judge Is Wrong

With LiLo in the picture, research on the subject has been overwhelming. Recently stumbled on this while trying to find any testing on the obstruction apect of the device. While still no testing found yet, I found the rebuttal for a case in Florida.

On September 15, 2009 AMS released a damage control statement covering the fact that they lost another case. Walton County Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells stated that the court would find that it appears that the detection made was a false-positive. The defendant (much like a case I helped in a few years ago) was exposed to haircare products while working in a hair salon. The defense relied on witnesses that testified they didn't see her drink and she didn't appear to be under the influence.
Hawthorne (inventor of SCRAM) testified that an alert could have been issued even if the client did not drink, then mentioned the list of "BANNED PRODUCTS" wearers are given to avoid false alerts. The rebuttal stated that "... the judge did not hear evidence to explain the difference between an environmental exposure to hairspray and actual consumption, resulting in confusion in the ruling and reports about the case." Really? Witnesses and the inventor testifying in open court that the banned products can produce an alert trumps the ridiculous notion that one can prove consumption by a read (especially if the standard is as it was years ago, topping out at .08) that is obfuscated at the get go.
CEO Mike Iiams says that alcohol-containing products like hairspray will oftentimes generate an alert, but that the SCRAM System can easily distinguish between exposure to environmental alcohol and actual consumption. Easily? If physiologists weren't so expensive! I wonder if Iiams is in full belief of this, he stated on a news cast here in Detroit we were in that some 1 in 1000 reads are false-positives. I had three on two bracelets, the famous Glaza case 3 on two bracelets and not to mention the hundreds that have contacted me over the years. I know Bayes Rule, a few of them probably were guilty, but without Constitutional procedures Iiams, I and the courts will never know.

Let us resolve to be masters, not the victims, of our history, controlling our own destiny without giving way to blind suspicions and emotions.-John F. Kennedy


Friday, March 13, 2009

SCRAM: In The Name of Justice

As I continue to get reports of false-positive, and wearers contact me in distress trying to figure out how to prove their innocents, it is nice to see AMS has constructively solved the problems! The device works, but there is only one way to read the report constructively, that's in compliance with the Constitution.

"Has "Big Brother" gone too far?

Updated: March 12, 2009 02:51 AM

Instead of going to jail, a high-tech bracelet gives some a second chance to prove themselves, keep their jobs and stay with their families.

But as Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy spears reports, some say it's a dangerous device that's putting innocent people in jail.

In the beginning, Ken Cooper thought, "this can't be happening."

The twice-convicted D-U-I offender isn't here to make excuses for himself.

"Definitely made some mistakes."

He's been to jail and he's served his time.

For part of his sentence, the court ordered him to wear a secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring device called SCRAM.

But Cooper and many others say SCRAM is a scam.

"In the beginning I thought, I'm just gonna go with the program and hope for the best. And right off the bat I had nothing but problems. It wasn't reading right. I had to go into their office. They had to use this magnetizing thing on it a few times."

The SCRAM device is worn on the bare leg just above the ankle.

It can tell if you've been drinking by measuring the alcohol that comes out your pores.

You can't take it off and it keeps tabs on you 24/7.

When Ken had it on, court documents show it kept reporting he was drinking again, even though he was ordered not to.

This time, he says he knew he was innocent.

"I can see how maybe the positive readings came, I mean, I work in a place where there's a lot of alcohol. But they assured me that there's no way that a spill or this or that can cause the monitor to go off."

The SCRAM manufacturer admits the device can't be worn by people who work at ethanol fuel plants, by diabetics, and there's even a list of items to avoid because they contain alcohol.

SCRAM can detect everything from deodorant and hair spray to household cleaners, cologne, perfume, lotions, gasoline, and mouthwash.

At Ken Cooper's job, he was surrounded by most of that, and lots of alcohol too.

At the time, he worked at Tao nightclub and Tao beach inside the Venetian.

"I ended up losing my job."

After he ended up in jail.

"Before I could even say anything I'm in handcuffs and like, words can't even describe. I was just in awe," Cooper recounts from a court hearing last Spring.

Court documents detail what his SCRAM device was reporting.

Repeated drinking events--all at times when he says he was at work.

"I've made mistakes but I was following the rules."

For non-compliance with SCRAM, Henderson Judge Mark Stevens sentenced Cooper to 17 days in jail.

"It was the toughest 17 days ever."

Soon after he got out, SCRAM reported a new violation.

Cooper and his attorney, Scott Holper, had had enough.

"We conducted a lot of research which indicated that this device was creating false positives," Holper says.

Internet bloggers say "The product is putting a lot of honest people in jail."

"The company and the court is playing Russian roulette with someone's life."

And "Chances are you will go to jail - even if you are not guilty! So much for justice..."

In Ken Cooper's case, his attorney says SCRAM did some research.

"They performed a study in which it was determined that the alcohol was airborne," says Holper.

And the same judge who threw Cooper in jail for the first set of violations ordered the SCRAM device taken off his leg, "in the interest of justice."

"So our concern, and the reason why we are filing a lawsuit against SCRAM and the City of Henderson, is to prevent individuals from being incarcerated for actions that they did not commit," Holper explains.

Because of that pending lawsuit, neither SCRAM nor the City of Henderson would go on camera.

A City spokesperson told Contact 13 there were some concerns that the device may have been giving incorrect readings in Ken Cooper's case.

And a SCRAM rep said there are a handful of situations that come up with a red flag where they will ask the court to rescind the device.

SCRAM says its rate of false positives is better than most other testing methods at one per 1600.

People like Ken Cooper say that's one too many.

"I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and I got punished for it."

According to SCRAM, the device is used on both first-time and multiple D-U-I offenders as well as underage offenders.

It's also used in domestic violence and drug court cases and in family court when alcohol is a contributing factor.

SCRAM says since 2005, they've monitored more than 1,440 Nevadans and currently have 198 people in our state on their system."

This gentleman is not the first to lose a job over erroneous convictions, and I have seen so many lose their children while cleaning the child's dwelling, something a simple dispatch could remedy. Remember the Sixth Amendment!

Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have
perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted,
bastardized form of illegitimate government.
James Madison (1751-1836)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

SCRAM: Forced Treatment

From this article, it appears more Constitutional and if I may add more constructive procedures of use are in practice. Note the false-positives in this case are discovered without the mental anguish many wearers are forced to endure, but still at least two erroneous reads on one client.

Forcing Sobriety, However Imperfectly
Published: May 6, 2008

"Like most patients assigned to my substance abuse clinic these days, John, a stylish 22-year-old cosmetology student, did not arrive voluntarily.

After two drunken driving violations, one in which another motorist was injured, a judge ordered John to attend a weekly recovery group I conduct for young adults facing similar legal troubles. But that was hardly the biggest stick the judge had at his disposal.

"This Scram keeps me from even thinking about drinking," John immediately told me as he raised a pant leg and pointed to a boxy plastic ankle bracelet that looked neither cool nor comfortable.

Scram, for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, records the wearer’s alcohol intake by measuring air and perspiration emissions from the skin every hour. It detects blood alcohol levels as low as 0.02 percent, which corresponds to one drink or less an hour, and can even tell when the alcohol was consumed.

Once a day, John has to be near a modem so it can transmit data from the last 24 hours to a monitoring agency and his probation officer.

Last year, American courts ordered Scram devices on thousands of defendants released on bond and awaiting trial for alcohol-related offenses, those sentenced to probation, and under-age drinkers. They pay a monitoring agency an average of $12 a day for the device, as well as installation and service fees.

Criminal justice professionals report high compliance rates, at least while these people remain in the court system. Last summer, the actress Lindsay Lohan wore one.
Yet the device is not perfect.

For one thing, it can lead to unexpected and embarrassing situations. When John was chosen by a favorite instructor to work on a fashion show at the airport, he worried how to inform her before his device was discovered by airport security. I urged him to be honest, and fortunately the teacher proved entirely supportive. She suggested letting the others in their group pass through security first and, a little later, explaining the situation to the inspectors. "It worked like a charm," John told me the next week.

Defense lawyers say that despite widespread use, independent, peer-reviewed scientific data is lacking on the device’s reliability and the technology it uses to measure alcohol levels.
False positive readings are also a risk. Among other things, baked goods like raisin bread and sourdough English muffins can cause the body to produce its own alcohol. And like any computer-based device, the Scram can malfunction.

On the Web, bloggers recommend "scamming the Scram" by placing lunch meat, tape or paper between the ankle and the sensor or plunging the leg into an ice-cold bath to prevent perspiration.

Alcohol Monitoring Systems Inc., which manufactures the device, says such ploys do not work because they block the sensors, setting off a tamper alarm that is transmitted online to the monitoring agency and then to the court system.

John can testify that the notification is swift. One afternoon, he received a call from his probation officer about a tamper alarm recorded from 5 to 6 o’clock that morning. John convinced the officer that he was neither drinking nor scamming and provided evidence of reporting to work sober at 8 a.m.

Because his device had never registered alcohol consumption in all the time he had worn it, the officer gave him a second chance. The next morning, the same thing happened.
A stressful conference followed. "I’ve got to admit," John recalled, "it was looking pretty bad." Fortunately, the probation officer was in an experimental mood.

The culprit was a five-month buildup of sweat and dirt on the sensors. There have been no false alarms since the device was thoroughly cleaned.

John is beginning to understand the severity of his alcohol addiction and how it threatens his life and well-being. Over the past five months, I believe, he has remained sober and made significant progress.

But I have also treated enough substance abusers to be suitably impressed by the consuming grip of the disease. Active alcoholics do not often tell me the truth about their abuse. They lie, in essence, to protect the continued use of their most cherished commodity.

One could argue that Scram and the threat of jail bought those five months of sobriety and treatment for John.

As a physician, I remain uncomfortable aiding and abetting coercive methods like Scram.
But this concern is overshadowed by a far greater one surrounding his long-term health. Soon John will "graduate" from his court-supervised treatment. His real test of recovery begins the day his Scram device is removed from his ankle."

Howard Markel is a professor of pediatrics, psychiatry and the history of medicine at the University of Michigan.


"The more I looked into it, the more foolish I felt for accepting it blindly."
Judge Dennis Powers

Saturday, February 16, 2008

SCRAM: The Power of a Signature?

Today even in Daubert states, lawyers are not allowed to challenge a BrAC reading with the partition ratio, knowing that nearly every read on a PBT is erroneous plus or minus due to this factor, the legal community has adopted 2100:1 as legally accepted. The "gatekeeper's" mind has been made, which now holds true in SCRAM cases in some Texas courts, observe:

"We do use the SCRAM device in Parker County. It is mainly used as a probation condition and not as a condition of bond. In terms of proving it up--as a condition of any plea the Defendant and their counsel have to sign the following stipulation: STIPULATION RELATING TO ADMISSIBILITY OF SECURE CONTINUOUS REMOTE ALCOHOL MONITORCOME NOW the State of Texas, by and through her undersigned Assistant District Attorney, and the Defendant, XXXXXXXXXX, both personally and as represented by the counsel of her choosing, XXXXXXXXXX, and present this Stipulation Relating to Admissibility of Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor as follows:
1. Both parties agree that for expert testimony to be valid, that Texas Rule of Evidence 702 requires that three prerequisites be met:
a. the witness must be qualified;
b. the proposed testimony must be grounded in scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge; and
c. the testimony must assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence admitted at trial or determining a fact in issue.

2. With respect to the first component, that the witness must be qualified, both parties stipulate and agree that the director of the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) program is a qualified witness to present expert testimony relating to said program and not to object to evidence of the SCRAM program on this basis.

3. With respect to the third component, that the testimony must assist the trier of fact, both parties stipulate and agree that said testimony would assist the trier of fact in determining a fact at issue, namely whether the Defendant has engaged in the use of alcohol in violation of his conditions of community supervision and do not object to evidence on the SCRAM program on this basis.

4. With respect to the second component, that the proposed testimony must be grounded in scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge, the parties stipulate and agree that for such evidence to be admissible a showing by clear and convincing evidence must be met that:
a. The underlying scientific theory is valid;
b. The technique applying the theory is valid; andc. The technique was properly applied on the occasion in question.

5. Both parties stipulate and agree that the underlying scientific theory of the SCRAM Program has been proven by clear and convincing evidence and do not object to admissibility of the SCRAM program on this basis.

6. Both parties stipulate and agree that the technique applying the underlying scientific theory of the SCRAM program has been proven by clear and convincing evidence and do not object to admissibility of the SCRAM Program on this basis.

7. The parties have not reached an agreement as to whether or not the technique applying the underlying theory of the SCRAM program was applied properly on any occasion in question. The parties agree that the State of Texas must present proof by clear and convincing evidence on this element.

8. The parties have reached an agreement that this stipulation shall be admissible and binding upon the parties in all future proceedings, including, but not limited to, administrative reviews, motions to revoke, motions to adjudicate, appeals, writs, and all other legal proceedings in this cause.
Signed on December 4, 2007.______________________________ XXXXXXXXXX, Attorney for Defendant______________________________Defendant XXXXXXXXX______________________________Robert S. DuBoiseAssistant District AttorneyApproved by the Court on December 4, 2007.__________________________PRESIDING JUDGE "

Challenging the science is not admissable most likely because this prosecuter rather win than find the truth. Should a signature of a defendant give the legal community the right to turn a blind eye, ignore historical cases that set precedents for a more effective system and abolish Constitutional Rights? One is supposed to have the right to challenge their accuser, in these cases it is SCRAM.

"Unthinkable respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth"
Albert Einstein

Saturday, December 01, 2007

SCRAM:Judge Finds Scram To Be Unreliable!

Judge Dennis Powers of the Novi District Court in Michigan found that an alcohol monitoring device frequently used in drunk driving cases to compel sobriety lacked scientific reliability, according to Patrick Barone of Birmingham Michigan, the defense attorney who successfully argued the case. The new device being examined by the Court, commonly referred to as a SCRAM Device, is an ankle bracelet worn by drunk drivers who are on bond to continuously monitor alcohol use. It has been recently used in 23 states for drunk driving cases. According to Barone, the unreliable device has caused many people to be mistakenly taken back into custody based upon flawed readings.The ruling, which is considee fi the country to thoroughly examine the reliability of the device, came after two days of testimony from Jeffrey Hawthorn, the patent holder, and Dr. Michael Hlastala a nationally known physiologist from the University of Washington. The SCRAM device's reliability was called into question after the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office sought to revoke the bond of defendant Lisa Glaza, who has been charged with drunk driving causing death, and as part of her bond conditions was ordered to wear an ankle bracelet manufactured by Alcohol Monitoring Systems called a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, or SCRAM bracelet. The prosecution claimed that Ms. Glaza had consumed alcohol over a two day period while on bond, based solely on the SCRAM results. Because Ms. Glaza denied drinking, Southfield attorney Mark Satawa had Ms. Glaza take a polygraph examination, which she passed. Mr. Jeffery Hawthorn asserted that his company's SCRAM bracelet has never had a false positive. Mr. Hawthorn explained that the bracelet measures the amount of alcohol in the wearer's body by measuring perspiration. The science of measuring alcohol in this way has been around since the 1930's, but his product has been on the market for only about one year. Mr. Hawthorn claimed that the readings from Ms. Glaza's bracelet clearly showed not only a pattern associated with a drinking episode, but also that she had attempted to block or tamper with the device during this same time period. Dr. Michael Hlastala told the Judge that the readings from the device looked more like instrument drift than drinking. "The numbers just don't add up", stated Hlastala. "It is biologically impossible for the metabolism of alcohol to have produced the readings Ms. Glaza's bracelet did in this case". Dr. Hlastala also offered other causes for the SCRAM readings, such as food converting to alcohol inside the body, and that the SCRAM device uses alcohol measuring technology that has been shown to be non-specific for beverage alcohol. "Consequently, certain kinds of cosmetics and other things can trigger a positive reading. Looking just at the numbers it's impossible to know if they are from drinking or if the numbers mean something else", stated Hlastala. Mr. Barone stated that this SCRAM bracelet has probably never been subjected to this kind of scrutiny in Court. "Unfortunately, there are at least several hundred people in Michigan alone that a face loss of liberty after being falsely accused of drinking while on bond", states Mr. Barone. "Until the SCRAM bracelet has been properly studied by the scientific community it simply shouldn't be used. The Courts have really jumped the gun on this." Mr. Barone believes that Judge Power's ruling will cause government agencies throughout the country to re-think their use of the SCRAM bracelet, until its reliability can be accepted in the scientific community.


Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, the ankle bracelet is being used in Mecklenburg's DWI Treatment Court to check the sobriety of repeat offenders who sign up for the voluntary rehabilitation program.
Tourtellott saw SCRAM at a national conference, then she tested it herself.She soaked it in a shower to see if it would malfunction. She put a business card between her ankle and the bracelet to fool it. But the monitoring report showed everything -- every drink, every attempt to tamper.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

SCRAM: Another Judge Finds SCRAM Unreliable With Alternative Possibilty Of Erroneous Reading!

If urinalysis has a 99.8% chance of being accurate, that would mean 2 out of 1,000 test would produce a false positive. Sounds good right? SCRAM, with their estimated 17,000,000 tests this would mean that 34,000 false positives occured. Fortunately this device won't just measure anything, so when a defendant is sleeping he/she is safe from false positives cutting this into an estimated third, right? Wrong, there are tests for obstructions as well, Jon Ugval of H.A.S. in Michigan claims it can detect socks!! Fact is there is no way to get an estimation on the accuracy of the equipment because the proprietors have obfuscated and have yet to acknowledge the possibilities of erroneous readings. Also, there is still an undetermined amount of ways the system can fail:

Judge William White, an Escambia County judge recently dismissed a claim that Dennis Gossman had violated probation by drinking alcohol. The judge was not convinced the device that claimed he drank on several occasions was accurate.In his ruling, he cited concerns about the fallibility of the device and noted that Mr. Gossman voluntarily submitted blood for tests that showed he had no alcohol in his system while the device read otherwise. Although local officers at two police stations denied him a breathtest he had plenty of witnesses to back his claim of abstinence. Judge White has pointed out a possibility that until now, was not dicussed in previous posts here, ""the unique combination of environmental factors, including the defendant's playing of an electric guitar, may have had some unexpected impact," such as the radio frequency interference (RFI) has an effect on PBT's earlier discussed here.Unfortunately instead of removing SCRAM, the judge said a probation officer could ask that he get a different job because the machine can't assure he adhere's to the terms of his probation. Inventor, Jeffrey Hawthorne, said it had virtually no "false positives" despite thousands of tests. Virtually, meaning that one has not been proven because they are smart enough to pilfer the time that a toxicology test could prove otherwise, or is this is because they never tested it for false positives. I recently found an article where the probation department was debating the use of SCRAM.
In this report the author, David Hunt, drinks and pours Listerine down his leg in an attempt to cover the episode, which SCRAM detected. I wrote Mr. Hunt and said," I have just read your article on SCRAM and noticed yet more tests on TAC/BAC,time delays and obstruction device.FACT: If you consume alcohol SCRAM will tell, no one ever works on outside influences to see if they can create a false positive (If you find someone to try this, use gas and it is an almost guarantee)...Try this without drinking!!!! "Pulling my sock under the SCRAM didn't stop the readings either", he said.....I wrote,"It is like a cast, itching and rashes are common, how much of the sock did you use, try it again with less and less and see for yourself, I already know!" I got a response from the gentleman that quotes,"Nothing about what I wrote was false. Maybe different "experimenting" would have led to different results. But what I did and what it told me I was doing were put in the paper just as they were. I can't find an argument to be made against the technology, but I'll admit to being skeptical when they strapped it on my ankle." His response goes on to say,"You make a good point about the "mouthwash test." I did it the way I did on purpose. The SCRAM people told me that a lot of people drink alcohol and use such an "accident" as a cover when the PO shows up. If you ask me the "SCRAM people" cleverly did this as a propaganda stunt, using the author as a pawn. There is no way to tell if the defendant used this to cover up because they do not allow a confirmatory test, although I am certain this has happened.
At any rate, there is no way to determine the accuracy of the device because we don't even know all of the ways SCRAM can produce erroneous readings. RFI may have been the result of a previosly posted false positive where the defendant was in the hospital. My guess,there is a host of possibility's yet to be discovered but it will be interesting to see if they perjure themselves claiming," SCRAM has never read a false positive" in the case I am sitting in on December 1.

In his ruling, made public Monday, White cited concerns about the fallibility of the device, which is strapped around the offender's ankle and measures vapors as they leave the body.White noted that Gossman voluntarily took blood tests that showed he had no alcohol in his system when the ankle device said he had been drinking.While the technology usually works, "the unique combination of environmental factors, including the defendant's playing of an electric guitar, may have had some unexpected impact," just as radio waves can interfere with breath tests, White wrote.
"It's very difficult to essentially prove the negative," Patrick Barone said, "which is that they were not drinking, especially when they're faced with a very well-funded and very well-experienced company that has a huge financial stake in justifying the result."

post date: 11/27/05

Monday, October 01, 2007

SCRAM: A Judge's Review

I had heard from a few people that Judge Dennis Powers, from the first published proven false-positive, was releasing an article for the Michigan Bar. I have also heard rumors that threats of action from AMS retarded the publishing, and it is quite the scrutinous review. The introduction states," The secure continuous remote alcohol monitor (SCRAM) tether represents the hope of monitoring defendants who are on probation, ensuring that they refrain from alcohol, without resorting to jail. If not proven reliable, however, the SCRAM tether may not be used as even a screening device, and jail time should not result from its reports. This article discusses a recent district court case involving a SCRAM tether and explores the evidentiary difficulties surrounding its use.1"
Basically more of the same, still nothing on the "obstruction" aspect of the device, but does give an in depth look at the case. There were multiple false-positives, the first one lasted 63 hours (water trapped in the bracelet + fitted tight and/or other form of alcohol/interferent?) with 10 hours of a constant TAC. The second alledged episode the tether reported a TAC of .025, the PBT was .00. The third allegation continued for 12 hours, ranging from .02 to .04 ( Judge Powers appears to be concerned with endogenous ethanol, food combinations, etc...) while the client was in the hospital. There were at least two different bracelets worn by the defendant, so it was not a malfunctioning tether.
The Judge also verified my statements that the device does not meet the requirements of Daubert as scientific evidence, and states," While the SCRAM tether was measuring transdermal alcohol diffused by the defendant, the court was concerned with the origin of that alcohol. AMS’s after-the-fact attempts to rehabilitate its device in relation to Daubert are unsuccessful in the eyes of these writers."
Jefferey Hawthorne claimed his device never registers false-positives, I guess the defense should of asked about anomaly's!! I stated elsewhere that I believe 75% of the 40% of wearers that still tamper or drink (2004) were falsly accused, three false-positives on one client, and we still have yet to see a research on this "confirmed obstruction". The most recent recidivism rate I've seen quoted from AMS was 18%.

The body of evidence supplied by the defendant made it clear that the readings by the SCRAM tether were not necessarily the result of prolonged drinking episodes. The data did not match the final conclusion, andwithout further research and foundation, the‘‘analytical gap’’ warned of in Gilbert cannot be overcome. There is much more occurring within the body with regard to the discharge of alcohol through the skin than the court was previously aware of, and much more remains to be done, even with the availabilityof the Sakai Study.

Friday, September 07, 2007

EtG: 84% is good enough...

It seems just yesterday these people claimed there were no false-positives and anyone with a read was treated as if they were in denial while they children were taken away, jobs hung in the balance, possibly jailed and of course my favorite more EtG testing. Is this vicious circle finally spinning out of orbit? A quote from states," In one analysis of 25 positive EtG levels 21 (84%) were from admitted use of alcohol. 11 of these were admitted use within 24 hours of initial confrontation regarding the positive test and 10 were admitted over the following days, weeks, and months of continued monitoring. 4 positives continue to be outstanding and are currently not known if they were from drinking or not." Still no mention of how many were confessing for a lesser punishment even though there was no drinking episode. I know of one SCRAM case where the defendant was facing a bond violation and a confession meant a $250 fine. Sixteen of one hundred, would you ride the roller coaster if you knew 16% of the riders died? Now, would you take your family? It is more than just a previous offender that suffer from false-allegations, leaving me to believe that the witch hunt for the "problem" drinker hurts more than it helps.
To continue with the MADDness, they add:
With these facts in mind respond to a positive EtG test in the following way:
Irregardless of the level, contact the individual and notify them affirmitavely that their test has shown that they were drinking alcohol (In our experience approximately half will admit drinking. This depends in large part on the perceived consequences of admitting it. If perception consequences can be reduced a higher admission rate will be achieved.)
Let the individual know that the primary goal in notifying them is to obtain assistance for them and support to them and that the consequences for drinking will be less if they can be truthful (now or in the immediate future) and admit their drinking.
If drinking is denied and there are no other significant indicators of relapse then be sure the individual is advised regarding avoiding all ethanol containing products and continue regular monitoring with EtG/EtS testing. (At least weekly for 1 month and then monthly thereafter).
If drinking is denied and there are other significant indicators of possible relapse (ie poor attendance at group meetings, reports of AOB, etc) then refer for specialized evaluation (can be performed initially as an outpatient evaluation to determine if further intensive evaluation is needed (to possibly include Phosphotidyl ethanol, CDT, polygraph, trails of exposure to alleged source of "incidetnal exposure" to ascertain if similar EtG level can be achieved, test for "auto-brewery syndrome", contact with collateral sources of info, physical exam, other lab w/u (LFTs, MCV, etc), etc)
Translation- Push them in a corner and jab, if this doesn't work tell them we will help them even though were just here for there money (Do you care if the neighbor drinks his liver into a mushy goo?) Now if there are no other indicators we'll try again but if there is and the defendant is still denying, give him/her a polygraph!!! This might be why our forefather's added the Right to Privacy in the Constitution.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

SCRAM: More Scrutiny...

A recent broadcast on Fox 2 News Detroit exploited the fact that the SCRAM system is non-specific. I was one of the wearers featured on the show with Chris Bruckner who had lost his livelihood and suffered incarceration for an offense the courts later determined did not happen. Over the last two years I have seen this in many cases, and there are unusual differences, such as clamps breaking or obstruction with no positive alcohol read, (saran wrap, cardboard, a sock and a black trash bag all failed to mask a drinking episode during research). Again, another segment on specificity, not the obstruction device.
I applaud Kerry Birmingham's criticism of the unconstitutional practices behind the procedures of use. They send a client a letter days after the alledged episode, which is a violation of the Sixth Amendment- Notice of Accusation which states an indictment will apprise a defendant of their allegation with reasonable certainty they can make their defense. This makes it impossible to prove a positive false. The letter I had received stated there was a hearing to "Prove why I should not be held in contempt of court", in essence prove my innocence. It is not directly printed in the Constitution but, innocent until proven guilty is a safe guard against wrongful convictions. I suppose they can close a lot of unsolved cases in this manner.
At the end of the segment, Richard Irrer (AMS) claimed one in one thousand reads are false-positives. I say prove it, there were at least 7 erroneous reads between the 4 wearers on the program. Does this ratio include obstructions? Is this just reads, with over 5000 wearers being tested at least 24 times a day? A report in 2004 cited that 60% of wearers continue to drink or attempt to tamper with the device and I boldly cited I believe that near 70% of these were erroneous. A more recent report claimed that 80% (or more) of the wearers comply, which adds verocity to my hypothesis The fact remains they have only proved consumption in a handful of cases, and only a few were able to PROVE INNOCENCE!

The feel: clunky. The look: embarrassing. But, it's a 24-hour watchdog — one that can send a person back to court, and back to jail.

Monday, March 05, 2007

SCRAM: False-Negatives

In this report the bracelet did not record a thing, and the officials claimed,"...Generally, like I've said, I've never seen that happen myself. For the most part, we catch every little incident that's occurred." That's right, everything such as a pant leg, sock or even a thin sheet getting between the bracelet during dormancy. The innocent are fighting tooth and nail for liberty while the delinquents kick back with a cold one. The use of junk science in our courts does not bring anyone to justice, but merely exploits how the lack of integrity and zeal amongst the legal community are causing harm to not only the offender, but their families as well.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

SCRAM: False or Not?

I have been looking for a realistic study on the tamper device. One report shows 733 confirmed tampers involving 158 offenders, I was 2 of those tampers and yet I did not tamper for delinquent purposes. This report failed to show how many involved a positive alcohol read as well, or how many were notified (by phone, police dispatch etc...) with reasonable certainty that the defendant could make there defense. In short, I'll bet that a vast majority of these confirmed tampers were false alarms but without more information, it appears that many defendants have lost their liberty for sleeping, wearing pants or socks or simply the tether falling down their legs which is quite comfortable after have 8 ounces pulling on your skin with every step for months! An interesting part of the study showed that the were 180 confirmed positives for 63 offenders. It does not take much logic to explain the dramatic increase in "confirmed tampers", for we can almost avoid contact with ethanol in most forms, most everyone wears socks, pants and or sleeps. Another factor not mentioned here is the abrasions. Could the dead skin from the scabbing wound create a tamper?
Today, I am still getting responses from concerned wearers, some charged with allegations that are "virtually" impossible to beat, and some just wearing it. One person claimed " My son was sent to jail for about forty days for two probation violations because his SCRAM unit showed what Jeff Hawthorn called drinking episodes. We went to court and prevailed thanks to a Judge who ordered two probation officers to wear SCRAM units and spend an hour in close proximity to my son and the oven that he works by in a bakery. All three units indicated alcohol consumption. AMS and Jeff Hawthorn need to be held accountable for the losses that people incur do to SCRAM's inability to distinguish consumed alcohol from invirnmental alcohol. Seems as though AMS is able to profit from a hastily marketed product." Remember, you can't fool the SCRAM bracelet, yet another possible way the device can fool the legal community, or are they?$?


Monday, December 25, 2006

Law: The Invasion

The Right to Privacy is waived when one is sentenced to probation, an alternative to jail where there is no privacy, one can't deny the alternative is better, and usually a more constructive approach. The problem is that Rule 702 allows for-profit companies to sell their proclaimed "state of the art" or "spot-on accurate" devices to the court without peer review, it is these devices that they use to monitor one with. In fact, the modern marvels have no federal guidelines and in most states there is no state law delineating how the science is to be used. More often than not, when technology reaches the court questions of reliability surface, and the solution-make it legal to use the device anyway (hence Breath Test Machines). I was recently informed of another science that appears to be falling apart, and while my research is in its infancy, the little information I have found is alarming, the consequences real, and again the Bill of Rights rendered to a two-hundred year old scripture. The following post is an effort to shed some light on how the invasion is reaching, and now liscensed professionals are losing their liscense to work after signing an "abstinence contract", and falling victim to the ever so fast paced wonderful world of "Daubert" Science-

Law: Is EtG testing the Answer?

During my research for a defense against allegations from SCRAM, I stumbled across a toxicology test that would be the perfect defense. Ethyl glucuronide, also known as EtG, a metabolite that is produced during the metabolism of alcohol. The study I found was on a hair testing procedure(Dr.Groppi), and the claims of the longevity, three weeks, far exceeds the time it takes them to notify a defendant. The problems however, were that the hair test hadn't reached the U.S. and it would take a significant amount of consumption to be able to be detected in the long term, hence another defense rendered useless.
The metabolite is detected in urine and this test has been used in the States for a brief period of time. Much like any other science in its' infancy, the reliability is in question, and the cries of false-positive deafened by the propaganda that surrounds it. Claims such as:
" Other biomarkers of alcohol use can be problematic since they can be influenced by age, gender, a variety of other substances and non-alcohol-associated disease. Fermentation may lead to false positives for alcohol since glucose and yeast may be present in the urine. This is especially possible if a urine sample is stored or shipped without refrigeration in warm weather. Since EtG is only created during the metabolism of alcohol, there is no potential for a wrong result due to external contamination. (1)" have not detoured the legal or medical community from using the test, but further exposes endogenous alcohol as becoming a factor in modern scientific alcohol testing methods.
In light of recent contacts, I have found that this very test may just be vulnerable to outside influence as well. At first skeptical, then the thought of painting can create erroneous reads on a PBT, alcohol emits transdermally, we have all heard of the nicotine patch, it was definately worth researching. The contact informed me of a forum (2), supposedly created by Dr. Skipper, who brought the test to the States, and is now addressing the issues. In the forum I found the Dr. saying," People who rely blindly on lab tests are inviting disaster.",(understatement of the year) but the test was propelled into the legal and medical community saying it is an absolute biomarker of alcohol consumption. The forum is headed "This egroup was developed as a forum to discuss EtG testing, benefits, risks, sensitivity, specificity, pros, and cons, and so forth."

I say," RISKS, SENSITIVITY, SPECIFICITY and CONS should be addressed before launching the program, and Rule 702 is the open door that invites disaster!

Another display of for-profit companies in our courts, however, this test is being used to detect alcohol use in licensees who have signed abstinence agreements. A host of professionals are losing their livelihood for what this Doctor quotes,"...we are advising Medical Review Officers that "incidental exposure" to alcohol can cause low level positives in some individuals. We still haven't clearly characterized the validity or possible source, if valid, of "false positive" EtG tests, except as mentioned, (testing for EtG utilizes LC/MS/MS technology which is highly specific) we know that "incidental exposure" to ethanol can cause weakly positive tests (<500ng/ml),> probably don't result in any significant alcohol exposure if used according to directions. The incidental exposure that appears to rarely cause weak positive EtG tests in some individuals are foods with significant alcohol, hygiene products like mouthwash with higher concentrations of alcohol, and OTC meds high in alcohol...(3)"
Using opinionated and obfuscating words, then proceeds to cite there has been no proof of a false-positive.....then why the memo? They are referring to them as "innocent positives", a sugar coating that obfuscates reliability (hence false or innocent), and only lightens the severity of the problem and its consequences. The term innocent almost makes the people advocating the science seem wholesome and good, when in reality they are willing to jeopardize ones liberty and well being (not to mention the host of repercussions false-positives create) for -the almighty dollar! The thing that really has me wondering is that this test is notorious for false-negatives, EtG is masked naturally, how can this be the better alternative(4)? So now back to Rule 702- the judge acts as the gatekeeper, that is he/she decides the reliability of the scientific evidence being submitted, taking into account the known or potential rate of error- What is the known or potential rate of error?
I admire the Dr. himself is addressing the issues. Problem is, they're using the test and as it seems right now, as I am limited in research, there is an unknown rate of error. This unknown costs people a great deal of anguish, bereavement and purloins one of the ingredients of a good life, and results are ,more often than one could assume, relapse, violent crime, stealing, and/or suicide. These are just some of the repercussions of false-positive, nothing innocent about it!
I hope the integrity of the investigation doesn't fade, and a solution is easily resolved, I am counting on it for it is the best defense against SCRAM, should we ever get the legal community to use it in a Constitutional manner. Dr. Skipper cites the testee should be warned to stay away from products with alcohol---so a truck driver (DOT) has to stay away from gas, a nurse has to stay away from a disinfectant, sometimes, a peaceful revolution is not an oxy-moron, othertimes "we the people" need to display our outrage as they continue to "sweep it under the carpet" and proceed! My report on endogenous was to show it is not a myth, when external contaminents cause reads, cease and desist is the only way justice can be fully acheived!
Maybe this is why our forefathers granted "The Right to be Presumed Innocent" and "The Right to Privacy" for without corroborating evidence, the test is just a map, the map is not the territory. Without the invasion, the innocent would not be convicted!


LAW: The Invasion

If the onslaught of e-mails I received over the course of two days is a preview of what is to come, this may just hit main stream. Should we be really worried about what people do in their personal lives? Why do they feel the need to constantly monitor one to a specific substance, and that substance being legal? Can a shop-lifter still shop, a fraud write a check? I have already explored how they lowered the bar on excessive drinking so if no crime (that is something that can harm another) is committed, do we really need to prohibit Nurse Betty from having a glass of Pinot Noir with her Osso Bucco? More importantly, should the courts, government, etc... be allowed to monitor our behavior at all? This is the reason our forefathers cited The Right to Privacy! For now, at least we still have the First Amendment, you know Freedom of Speech, Press, Assembly etc...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Virtually No False-Positives.....

A quick google search, EtG false-positives, and the first thing I see," There are virtually no false positive tests (ie when EtG is positive alcohol has been consumed!) However, an important issue is that must be considered is ...". Well, I've heard that before, seems to be part of Jeffrey Hawthorne's (inventor of Scram) testimony, and I've seen it in an article advertising SCRAM:
There are Virtually no false-positives..........
Lets look at the word Virtually-
1)In fact or to all purposes; practically: The city was virtually paralyzed by the transit strike.
2)Almost but not quite; nearly: "Virtually everyone gets a headache now and then" (People).

'Virtual' has a similar meaning to 'quasi-' or 'pseudo-', meaning something that is almost something else, particularly when used in the adverbial form, e.g. "He's virtually [almost] my boyfriend."
The current definition, that can hardly be distinguished from "potential", originates in medieval Scolastics and the pseudo-Latin "virtualis". Most prominent of these in contemporary philosophy has been Gilles Deleuze, who uses the term virtual to refer to something that every object carries with it, which is neither its reality nor merely what it could have been, but rather what it is imagined to be. "Virtual" is therefore taken to mean a potential state that could become actual. "Virtual" is opposed to "actual".

Synonyms- nearly, not absolutely, not actually, practically,

So, I guess it is safe to say that during testing the were nearly no false-positives!

Now lets look at the subjects tested in AMS's "tamper-proof white-paper", all 10, a seven day study two of which no testing was performed. Ten subjects in 5 days and there were nearly no false-positives. Quote- This low-level reading occurred because the test subject worked in an area where alcohol was used to clean circuitry components. Except for this anomaly,..." Today there are at least 2000 people being tested 7 days a week (up to 48 times a day), I hope they don't have to suffer the consequences of an ANOMALY!
As far as the benefits, it does have one up on the EtG tests, and that is time of alledged comsumption. If your in an area where there are camera's or able to establish a credible alibi, and can possibly identify the source, it may create reasonable doubt.
The benefits of EtG, there would be no chance of suffering the abrasions and scars left from the SCRAM bracelet on a percentage of subjects. And longevity, pitting the two against each other in court was my initial goal! It has been said that at least one doctor is conducting a for-profit company promoting the EtG test, and is looking into SCRAM- {I 'd like to see the expert testimony in that case.}
I have yet to hear of anyone accused of drinking through EtG test in the legal community, allthough steps are being taken to cut the cost of the tests, which poses a problem. A defendant could very well use this as a defense- and with an expert testimony. It has been also noted that a probationer in the health care community, that has a concurrent probation with the courts, a positive test may be considered a violation of both the probations. Double jeopardy for a crime that may have never been committed.-Marcellus

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

SCRAM: Sufficating the Constitution

While some may claim the Right To Privacy was abolished when one was put on probation, an alternative to jail where there is no privacy, other constitutional rights have been disregarded when ordered to wear such a device.
First and foremost, ''nemo tenetur seipsum accusare,'' that is, ''no man is bound to accuse himself.'' Most clients are in favor of wearing the device, confident they can adhere to the terms and ignorant to the possibility of an erroneous read, until they walk into an office building with freshly cleaned carpets, or cut their lawn and with no delinquent actions- Incriminated themselves. This priveledge was intended to eliminate coercion in interrogation and in testimony, which lawyers are ever so gracious for an opportunity to use ones wording (not meaning) against them and manipulate facts to impute guilt. In North Carolina they have been having problems with independant for-profit companies selling the device to defendants, and Greg Stahl, the AOC's deputy director, raised a possible constitutional issue with SCRAM. "Can an offender be charged money to monitor himself, and monitor himself in a way that he might go to prison if he flunks?" Stahl asked rhetorically. In researching I found this excerpt defining the Fifth Amendment-...nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; DUE PROCESS?

Now lets say there is a reading, false or not, a probationer will receive a letter in the mail which states the defendant is entitled to a hearing " to prove why he/she should not be held in contempt of court". In other words, Prove Your Innocents. While Presumption of innocents is not cited explicitly in the Constitution it is widely held to follow from the 5th, 6th and 14th amendments.The intent is to put the burden of proof on the prosecution for proving innocents can be near impossible, for instance it's often impossible to establish an alibi if the person is home alone at the time of the crime, which happens all too often with the SCRAM system. A great number of accusation seem to occur when the defendants are sleeping, and with no further investigation, the defendant is forced to reap the consequences or confess to a violation that may or most likely didn't occur in hopes for a lighter sentence. I am conviced that they do not want the burden of proof because that may lead to an undetermined amount of erroneous reads and deem such a lucrative product frivolous. Further investigation does not necessarily mean wasting tax dollars on a police dispatch...the Sixth Amendment give us the...
Which states the constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation entitles the defendant to insist that the indictment apprise him/her of the crime charged with such reasonable certainty that he/she can make their defense and protect themselves after judgment against another prosecution on the same charge. Informing a defendant would warrant nothing more than a phone call and an innocent client would have the time needed for an actual toxicology test, and that would be reasonable certainty that he/she can make their defense. If you are thinking this is a post-conviction offense, it would appear the revocation of parole or probation which has been imposed following sentencing, and prison disciplinary hearings will be determined according to due process and equal protection standards rather than by further expansion of the Sixth Amendment.
Due Process, Right to be Presumed Innocent, self incrimination, 5th, 6th and 14th amendments are just a few of the Constitutional rights to sufficate when "we the people" allow our legal community to become over-zealous denizens of for-profit companies. With no scientific scrutiny they allowed a device so vulnerable it "can detect them (socks) too...", as quoted by Jon Ugval of House Arrest Sevices, to jeapordize the liberty and family's well being of unsuspecting wearers. I have not even explored the fact that in trial there is no evidence, other than the reading, that is the bracelet is not equipped with a device to save the incriminating sample to be observed by the defense. The abuse of process, the convictions secured from reasonable suspicion or The Right To Bodily Integrity. Since my first post there has been two studies not commisioned by AMS, and PIRE's research found two of the 18 test subjects endured minor bruising and these people were probably not under the same circumstances as an actual probationer such as, no drivers liscense, walking or bicycling to the requisite of meetings, counseling, work etcetra. My research has found that 4 out of 10 wearers are subject to incredibly painful abrasions and infections, which in some cases resulted in permanent scars, it is 8 ounces pulling on your skin with every step, every motion, and treatment for the abrasions is null for ointments and cleaners can trigger erroneous reads and the bacteria is trapped in the bracelet, but until there is an actual case of necrosis, concern much like the burden of proof is placed on the client!

-Mike Gephart, corrections unit supervisor for Hennepin County- In some cases, he said, people admit: "Yeah, I did have a couple of beers.But I'm done. Others are in complete denial and say, 'I didn't drink.' "Instead, the latter group blames the device for emitting a false positive,Gephart said. One individual, for example, insisted a hair-care product containing alcohol had somehow triggered a bogus reading. That person was issued a warrant and hauled back to jail.
The anklet also is sensitive to any alcohol that comes in contact with the skin. For example, one anklet registered when the man wearing it put on a shirt washed in a detergent that contained alcohol.
Gephart said that like any new technology, there have been "minor" issues with SCRAM. In one case, authorities issued a warrant to put someone back in jail after a positive alcohol reading was triggered.But the warrant was recalled when officials couldn't "absolutely"determine a drinking violation occurred.Without going into detail, Gephart said the substance that triggered the reading is something that could be found on a construction site, as the probationer claimed.

Originally posted: 02/28/2006


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

SCRAM: Illinois Buys It

Their hyping it up in Illinois-

[...]Some critics argue it's another example of Big Brother encroaching on personal liberties, but supporters contend it's the best tool yet for combating alcohol-related crimes and clogged jails and prisons.[...]
A Big Brother approach is an understatement...

[...]The eight-ounce ankle bracelet [...]

Will hobble one with abrasions, bruising, infection (How does one clean the wound?) and leaves permanent scars...

[...]"We still have to work out a lot of details," said Birkett, a lieutenant governor candidate, "but this is going to focus on people who clearly have an alcohol problem and their alcohol use is tied to their crime."
Ironically, one of the state's top DUI defense attorneys, Donald Ramsell, worked with the company on legal issues. He supports it as long as the program is voluntary and isn't abused to punish social drinkers.[...]

And the deciding factor can be how high the EBT result is, erroneous it may be...

[...]"You want to make sure it's accurate and that there's a process in place to appeal a reading if it's in dispute," said Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.[...]
Yeah, proving innocence is "virtually" impossible, in fact, impossible in most scenarios...
[...] 45.2 percent of fatal crashes in the state involved intoxication, compared to 39.6 nationwide.[...]

Completely inflated, fictitious statement, remove intoxication and add "a measurable amount of alcohol in any driver, occupant or pedestrian involved" and we are a little closer to 45%...

"I believe that most people would not mind the slight
inconvenience of being arrested for a low blood-alcohol
level, given the opportunity to prove their innocence …"53
Linda Campion, MADD presenter and founder of the Kathleen A. Campion Foundation

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

SCRAM: Setting Them Up For Failure

In this article, they point to another study on the TAC/BAC correlation, yet, what happens when the alcohol detected was not consumed? Already it is known that the device is non-specific, meaning the read can be caused by things other than alcohol much like the Ignition Interlock detects yeast products. I was recently contacted by a person claiming, "My son was sent to jail for about forty days for two probation violations because his SCRAM unit showed what Jeff Hawthorn called drinking episodes. We went to court and prevailed thanks to a Judge who ordered two probation officers to wear SCRAM units and spend an hour in close proximity to my son and the oven that he works by in a bakery. All three units indicated alcohol consumption. AMS and Jeff Hawthorn need to be held accountable for the losses that people incur do to SCRAM's inability to distinguish consumed alcohol from invirnmental alcohol. Seems as though AMS is able to profit from a hastily marketed product." Intersesting that they feel it necessary to bump a district atttoney who clearly has an interest in justice!

Guy added that he knows of at least one SCRAM case from Mecklenburg County where a defendant might have been better off financially had he opted for a lengthy prison sentence. "Are we setting these people up for failure?" he said.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

SCRAM: Case Study

Washtenaw County-
Client obtained PBTs on Friday and Saturday mornings to try and show he was not drinking. Events seen later on days he obtained readings. Bracelet showed compliance at the time of PBT but drinking later in the day. Client sentenced to one year.

Why did the client try to prove his innocents? Probably because the prosecution was not looking for corroborating evidence.

41-B District Court-
Client claimed interferents in workplace created positive readings. Interferants were posted but AMS showed the difference between interferant readings and the predictable Blood Alcohol Curve. Client sentenced to 30 days followed by additional 6 months of SCRAM.

The ever so trusty TAC curve, not corroborating evidence!

40th District- SCRAM showed positive drinking. At hearing client admitted.

Client was most likely offered an easy sentence for the plea, rather than throw the dice. One wearer contacted me ready to fight, the plea offer was a $250 fine, as opposed to incarceration. See also Plea Bargain.

KIRBY MAY-PROSECUTER SHELBY COUNTY TENNESSEE-May, who specializes in drunken-driving cases, has found the round-the-clock, 6.5-ounce monitor only slightly annoying — it tends to vibrate every five minutes and creases the skin if not positioned just right. Still, he's sold on it.''It's not for every case, and it's not really to punish,'' said May, who's kept a log of his alcohol intake to test against the monitor. ''But if someone's in rehabilitation and in (driving) safety school, it helps break that drinking habit.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

PBT: 40% Margin of Error

Already known is the partition ratio, a selected number used by all breath test machines in each and every test. As well as the ratio ever changing, so is your body tempature. It has been found that a rise in body tempature as much as 1.8 degrees can inflate the results up to 7%. Dr. Hlasatla had found a 6.3% error for every degree Centigrade increase or decrease from the presumed normal body tempature. Remember painting a room can cause a lingering .12, endogenous a possible .02, RFI .05, x 7% per degree of difference = Conviction.
In an fallacious effort to justify the result, the evidentary test will be administered until two consecutive tests are within .02 difference. If the first result is .10, anything between .08 and .12 for the second will be considered accurate, thus a 40% range of error not including the incredible amount of other Daubert issues with the devices.
As this becomes public knowledge, any of us can be convicted at anytime, and a growing number of states are eliminating jury trials for DUI cases, another strike at our Constitution.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

EtG: SAMSHA Warning

Federal Agency WarnsThat Alcohol TestIsn't 100% Reliable
By KEVIN HELLIKER October 5, 2006; Page B1

A widely used method of detecting alcohol consumption in people prohibited from drinking is under assault from a federal agency that has declared the test too scientifically uncertain to be the sole basis for legal or disciplinary action.
The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration last week issued a so-called black-box warning asserting that the urine-alcohol screen called EtG doesn't offer surefire proof of drinking. Officials at the agency say the screen is so sensitive that a positive reading may reflect exposure to alcohol-based hand sanitizers or alcohol-containing foods or medicines. A carton of apple juice left a long time in the refrigerator could conceivably produce a positive EtG test, says Kenneth Hoffman, the agency physician who wrote the warning.
The warning represents a victory for the growing number of people who insist they flunked the EtG test despite having abstained from liquor. Their cases, replete with polygraph exams and other evidence of sobriety, convinced even the scientist who pioneered EtG screening in America that the test is prone to so-called innocent positives.
Whether the agency's warning will help these people reclaim the jobs that some lost after flunking EtG tests is unclear. In any case, the warning is a blow to the credibility of the $4 billion-a-year urine-testing industry, which introduced the EtG test two years ago as offering fail-safe proof of alcoholic-beverage consumption.
EtG, short for ethyl glucuronide, is a unique metabolite of alcohol that stays in urine for up to 80 hours -- four times as long as does alcohol itself. Earlier, detection of alcohol had been difficult because it dissipates so quickly. The wider window of detection made EtG an instant hit with drug courts, professional licensing boards and other agencies that monitor sobriety -- and an instant star of the urine-testing industry, which is performing tens of thousands of EtG tests per month in the U.S.
However, SAMHSA officials say the industry never conducted the large-scale clinical trials needed to prove EtG isn't prone to snare the innocent. No federal regulatory approval or rigorous trials are required for a urine-testing firm to introduce a new product or process.
Even after evidence emerged that the EtG test could detect incidental exposure to alcohol in food and the environment, many urine-testing firms continued marketing the screen as definitive proof of alcohol consumption. Some continue to do so. "EtG is not detectable in urine unless an alcoholic beverage has been consumed," says the Web site of a urine-testing firm called AccuDiagnostics LLC. An AccuDiagnostics spokesman attributes that claim to toxicologists at laboratories to which it outsources its samples.
At industry giant Quest Diagnostics Inc., the director of the Salt Lake City laboratory conceded during a July interview that exposure to alcohol in foods or medicines could produce a positive EtG score. After The Wall Street Journal published a page-one article on Aug. 12 about EtG tests, Quest removed from its Web site a claim that "EtG is not detectable in urine unless an alcoholic beverage has been consumed."
A Quest spokeswoman says the company regrets not removing that information sooner. However, Quest says that the claim was based on an internal study of 1,500 abstinent people, none of whom tested positive for EtG. That study wasn't published. The spokeswoman says Quest is carefully studying the SAMHSA warning.
The warning makes clear that the EtG test remains useful. Increasingly, drug and drunken-driving defendants, along with recovering addicts in high-risk professions such as health care, are required to abstain entirely from alcohol and illicit drugs. But monitoring these people has been difficult because while illicit drugs can be detected for days after usage, alcohol consumption has been easy to disguise -- until the advent of EtG. About 10% of EtG tests have turned up positive, the vast majority of them reflecting genuine violations of sobriety requirements.
But a small percentage of those positive findings appears to involve no wrongdoing. In one case, a California pharmacist named Lorie Garlick -- whose pharmacy license has been suspended since she failed an EtG test in the spring of 2005 -- quarantined herself in an addiction-treatment center with no access to booze and flunked the test again.
Because of such cases, "legal or disciplinary action based solely on a positive EtG ... is inappropriate and scientifically unsupportable at this time," said the SAMHSA warning, recommending that a positive EtG be regarded as a possible sign of relapse that triggers a broader investigation.
A negative EtG score appears to represent persuasive evidence of sobriety. This was what Gregory Skipper, a physician who runs the Alabama monitoring and assistance program for recovering doctors, was seeking when he helped to pioneer the EtG test along with some European doctors several years ago. As a recovering addict himself, Dr. Skipper understood that malpractice insurers and state licensing boards desire documentation of abstinence. Dr. Skipper, who supports the SAMHSA warning, says he hopes it doesn't overshadow the EtG's value as a marker of sobriety.
Many urine-testing firms say that they merely provide the EtG results and that their clients -- drug courts or professional licensing boards -- bear responsibility for deciding whether a positive finding represents proof of drinking. But some urine-testing companies themselves have guided clients to interpret positive results as proof of drinking. On a laboratory report stating that Nancy Clark, a Pennsylvania nurse, had an EtG score of more than 300 nanograms per milliliter, National Medical Services included the statement that "any value above 250 ng/ml indicates ethanol consumption."
Ms. Clark has passed a polygraph test stating that she hasn't drunk, and her 12-step group awarded her a medallion in May honoring five years of abstinence from alcohol and drugs. But two positive EtG scores prompted Pennsylvania to suspend her nursing license early this year. Now, the 20-year veteran of nursing waits tables at Charlie Brown's Steak House in Reading, Pa.
The state has argued that it wasn't accusing Ms. Clark of drinking, only of failing to produce clean urine.
Write to Kevin Helliker at

Sunday, August 13, 2006

EtG: The Wall Street Journal

"Some in sobriety enforcement contend any alcohol, however ingested, could trigger a relapse in recovering addicts."-Kevin Knipe

This rhetoric supports the testing, while stating that fueling a vehicle, eating pickles and sanitizing a childs dwelling are good reasons to take a childs mother away. This is by no means constructive, trust me I've been there, although my offense was showering or wearing socks. There is absolutely no research (that I've come across in over a year of study) that supports a theory that cleaning a bathroom or fueling a car is a trigger for relapse. A positive, false or not, usually means added treatment, in my opinion this jack-ass is more interested in revenue rather than constructively helping one with a disorder.

They have not even touched base with the possibility's. When asked how Tylenol causes a false-positive, I found that it as well as many OTC drugs (Motrin) are methylated. Ethynyl estradiol used in oral contraceptives, estradiol stimulates the enzyme primarily responsible for creating EtG, (possibly why the research that made this "the Gold Standard" was over 40 men and three women), making most women hyperproducers, add ethynyl and BAM. This is the alternative to SCRAM in continuous monitoring, a couple of state's HPRPs have already suspended use, one group and 80% of the clients were positive, would 8 out of ten people jeopordize their livelihood? It is far less reliable than SCRAM, and one case with a read of 121,000 and the Dr. had doubt, as opposed to the 100, 250, 500, 1000 and 1500 the article discusses.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

SCRAM: Relapse Prevention Myth

1) A clients story through the eyes of his lawyer.
2) This lawyer is researching!
His premise is that the device may detrimentally impact a clients ability to stay sober for it is quite audible causing "continuous" embarrasment and sleep deprevation. The pain and discomfort of 8 ounces pulling on your skin with every step was compared as "a shade better than a medieval torture device". He cited concerns that "the torment of having this unproven appliance reporting your daily intake of food or other products that the manufacturer admits may provide false positives would push even the emotionally firm to the brink of a stiff drink". After an erroneous read, proving innocents is nearly impossible with the methods of use AMS suggests, so one may think might as well, going to jail anyway! Jeffrey Hawthorne, admitted under oath, that SVRAM was not designed for use as a quantitative analytical device. Also, he admitted that there are too many factors that cannot be controlled. He reported that it is only a screening device. So Jeff, why propel the device claiming AMS can distinguish between consumption and exposure?This lawyer also noted nobody knows when and if the bracelets are calibrated, I read elsewhere another expert saying the device should be calibrated every 24 hours. Again this brings concerns about the cleaning of the device, transcommunicable infections are not myths, and with water and dead skin in the bracelet, staph infections do pose a threat and I have some pretty credible witnesses to that. My favorite quote," ,"Either AMS gets these questions answered and wrinkles smoothed or defense attorneys are going to have this purported science dropped on its proverbial head. Until then, unfortunately, judges continue to use SCRAM and alleged offenders continue to go to jail for alleged positive TAC readings."

Some DWI offenders don't learn their lesson until it's too late. But what if there was a way to keep them from having even one drink? Now there is. A device that tells authorities if you have been drinking at any time can be locked onto an ankle serving as a constant reminder. And while some complain it's like big brother, many believe it will prevent convicted drunk drivers from committing their crimes again. Ronald Markek is an admitted alcoholic. “You see, I can go 3 or 4 years without drinking and all of a sudden there's some urge in me that I gotta go out and get loaded and every time I do, I get caught and I wind up in court."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

SCRAM: 50/8000

In my eight month's of SCRAM, I had been in for many regularly scheduled maintenance appointments. During one of these visits, a woman, not a large or masculine woman, broke the strap while putting it on my leg. At the time it was of no concern to me, until a concerned mother contacted me of an occurance which had her daughter incarcerated. Her story follows.

Apparently the strap broke while she was at work, and she had witnesses. She called the monitoring office and got an answering machine, her therapist, and arrived at the office attempting to explain the situation. The montoring office called AMS, the represenative advised that she had not come across any case where the band had just come off the ankle without force or being cut. The defendant was not afforded a hearing and after the charged with criminal damage, (a felony), charged for the whole system-$1400, and sent to jail. Fortunately, they kept the bracelet for further investigation and Royce McDonald (technician) advised that there was no identifiable offender damage to the front strap of the bracelet, McDonald further related that AMS has seen this kind of damage on less than 50 bracelets out of more than 8000 built. The charges have been refused, yet the defendant had to finish her inpatient program. This is another example of the fallibility's, the misuse of over-zealous probation departments and/or electronic monitoring companies, the effects of continuous monitoring and is neither justice nor constructive in rehabilitation.

SCRAM wearers are told not to spray perfumes, hairspray or wear alcohol-based lotions, to avoid testing errors. Monitoring specialists at AMS, however, are able to determine whether or not an alcohol reading was triggered by alcohol consumption. Alcohol that has been consumed stays in the body longer and can be detected by the sensors longer, according to Kathleen Brown, AMS spokeswoman.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Law: Is EtG Testing the Answer (part 2)

I stumbled on this theory when I saw ethynyl estradiol caused fasle-positives, ethynyl made sense but estradiol? Today, the vast majority tested with this seem to be women, yet the founding research was mostly men, which leaves me to believe Dr. Skipper (responsible for bringing EtG testing to the U.S.) after dubbing it an absolute bio-marker of alcohol consumption despite gender bias research, was well aware of gender bias and/or the possibility of, and his continued stride to use the test while custody, liberty and livelihood are purloined by the claims of surrepititious drinking only add verocity to my assumption. His newest little study inspired some more research of my own to corroborate with my hypothesis, or prove it wrong. I found in conjunction with my gender bias thoery," But, when normalized for total body water, women metabolize ethanol 33% faster than men, due to a proportionally larger liver." Accelerated UGT1A1 (primary enzyme responsible for production of EtG, stimulated by necessity) expression due to the elimination of E2 (natural estrogen, estradiol), ADH (first pass, first elimination of ethanol) less prevalent among, and a proportionally larger liver logically equals a hyperproducer. Dr. Skipper has started a research protocol to establish how these false-positives are occuring. The list of contaminents range from anything that has the molecular structure of ethanol such as vinegar, foods cooked with wine, even over ripened fruit, and an inhalation issue has been raised as well. If this test is positive for anything that had the molecular structure of ethanol such as vinegar, any substance in the "meth" catagory would as well create a false-positive. It is also noted that Tylenol may create false-positives, most likely due to the fact that it as well as many over-the-counter remedies are methylated (1.To mix or combine with methyl alcohol. 2.To combine with the methyl radical.), yet his protocol states:
Some individuals have tested positive for EtG but deny drinking. There are only threepossibilities for this phenomenon.
1. They are being dishonest or in denial and they actually consumed beverage alcohol
2. They are being honest and are not in denial but consumed “incidental” alcohol(from OTC meds, food, hygiene products, or other).
3. They produced alcohol in the GI tract in sufficient quantity to trigger a positivetest. (This is only a theoretical possibility at this time and hasn’t beendocumented.)
Endogenous- ADH is known to eliminate a small percentage of endogenous alcohol, how does the Doc believe the remainder is eliminated? True, .02 is a high endogenous level, but not as uncommon as one might think with certain food combinations (chocolate doughnut), which again would stimulate 1A1 expression leaving one vulnerable to outside influence and adding to the existing EtG. Make no mistake, the only possibility for this phenomenom is the vast amount of contaminents in corroboration with the lack of research on such contaminents, hyperproducers etc... and hiding behind the facade of the virtuous goal of identifying these secret drinkers. I am confident the majority of claims of erroneous reads are not "surrepititious drinking" as the Dr. would have you think, again referring to the list of contaminents and incredible amount of claims, Bayes Rule applies, and of course common sense.
Impressive is the fact that Skipper is going to conduct tests in a supervised setting:
Auto-Brewery Syndrome Test Protocol
(May be performed initially in an unsecured setting, however, for forensic purposes thetest should be performed (or repeated) in a secure environment (search belongings, in asecurely supervised setting where no ethanol is available, etc))
Well skeptics say this has been done before, and they continue to impute guilt rather than address the seemingly obvious. It has been said that one study was conducted with nuns and a regular rinse with mouthwash, when one tested positive they stated that self-reports of consumption are usually not reliable, so the nun lied.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

LAW: "Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus"- The Eye Test

The "Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus", one of the most recent additions to the field sobriety test, and increasingly used amongst law enforcement, has been proven a fallacy time and time again, yet it can and will be used against you in the court of law. It has been said blood sugar, caffeine intake and nervousness are ingredients for failure. Not only is it fundamentally flawed but it is rarely administered by officers properly.The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test was conceived, developed and promulgated as a simple procedure for the determination of the blood alcohol concentration of drivers suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Bypassing the usual scientific review process and touted through the good offices of the federal agency responsible for traffic safety, it was rushed into use as a law enforcement procedure, and was soon adopted and protected from scientific criticism by courts throughout the United States. In fact, research findings, training manuals and other relevant documents were often held as secrets by the state. Still, the protective certification of its practitioners and the immunity afforded by judicial notice failed to silence all the critics of this deeply flawed procedure....In 2001 new research indicated that the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the cornerstone of the test battery was fundamentally flawed and that the HGN test was improperly conducted by more than 95% of the police officers who used it to examine drivers suspected of driving while intoxicated.This summary critique demonstrates that it is scientifically meretricious and that the United States Department of Transportation indulged in deliberate fraud in order to mislead the law enforcement and legal communities into believing the test was scientifically meritorious and overvaluing its worth in the context of criminal evidence....(1)Again, not accepted by the scientific community, yet crucial evidence to the legal community, deliberate fraud they say. The final quote from my resource states,"...silence from the scientific community cannot be considered an endorsement of the program."(2)Some quotes:"Using nystagmus as an indicator of alcohol intoxication is an unfortunate choice, since many normal individuals have physiologic end-point nystagmus...Without a neuro-opthalmologist or someone knowledgeable about sophisticated methods of eye movement recordings, it is difficult to determine whether the nystagmus is pathologic. It is unreasonable that such difficult judgments have been placed in the hands of minimally trained officers. Dell'Osso, "Nystagmus, Saccadic Intrusions, Oscillations and Oscillopsia", 147 Current Neuro-Opthalmology 147.""Nystagmus can be caused by problems in an individual's inner ear.... Physiological problems such as certain kinds of diseases can result in gaze nystagmus....Furthermore, conditions such as hypertension, motion sickness, sunstroke, eyestrain, eye muscle fatigue, glaucoma, and changes in atmospheric pressure may result in nystagmus. The consumption of common substances such as caffeine, nicotine, or aspirin also lead to nystagmus almost identical to that caused by alcohol consumption. State v. Witte, 836 P.2d 1110." (3)
1) (Booker, 144(3) Science and Justice 133-139, 2004),

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

PBT: Daubert vs. Daubert

Sharper Image agreed to stop selling personal breath test devices and pay $1.2 million in restitution as a part of a settlement regarding the device. The company claimed the "Digital Breath Alcohol Tester" was accurate to .001 percent BAC, they are also to pay $100,000 in penalties for the ficticious claims. Apparently a city employee compared the results with one used by the cities police department, which only leaves unanswered questions-Was RFI involved in either of the reads?Is this employee qualified to use them? Do they understand mouth alcohol and the time it dissipates?Was either PBT right?How does one know the police issued machine is the correct? Even if a device is specific to alcohol, it most likely is not specific to ethanol, and some other forms of alcohol last longer and will trigger an erroneous read. The list goes on, but as pointed out through much research and past posts/links here, there are too many factors when measuring the contents of blood by breath, to ever get an accurate read! Partition ratio, RFI, endogenous, food combinations, mouth alcohol, equilibrium, breathing, calibration............

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Law: Continuous Monitoring (Ca. AB 1832)

California's AB 1832 (Introduced by Rudy Bermudez, who is running for senate. Would his being a "victim" of a drunk driver distort his views on justice?) is a bill that makes "continuous monitoring" a legal alternative to incarceration. While most would agree this is certainly a more constructive approach, the research quoted has it's skeptics. "According to the author, "Studies have shown that a driver who has been convicted of one or more DUIs is almost twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident, killing or injuring themselves or others." I've seen other studies that show that a near 90% of actual drunk driving fatalities are first time offenders, but zeal can't be reasoned with. After reviewing the NHTSA's FARS Database (Ca. 2003), fatal accidents where all drivers were tested resulting in .00, accounted for 117 "alcohol related" deaths, and of the 1626 "alcohol related" deaths, 922 were where the driver was tested .08 or greater.
Redundant I know, but our legal community continues, and so will I. The report quotes this on SCRAM, "An environmental alcohol curve will be characterized by a steep rise to peak, remain at that level as long as the bracelet remains in the environment, the display a sharp decrease back to the zero base line once the bracelet is removed from the contaminated air." The picture is an unexpected contaminent during the testing, and proves vulnerability. Once the bracelet is removed from the contaminated air, the bracelet need be worn tight, that air is not just quickly removed. PIRE's research also showed us that water accumulates in the bracelet, ethanol is miscible (highly soluble) with water, which again can and does retard the diffusion. And children have lost their parents because of a "curve". This low-level read lasted in excess of two hours with a gradual decrease, anoter obfuscation is the fact that it can't read past .08, so ones TAC may have been at .79, yet a retarded diffusion will still impute guilt.
"Research was conducted on more than 100 different individuals providing thousands of SCRAM TAC to BAC comparisons. The conclusion was that there is a reliable correlation between SCRAM transdermal alcohol concentration and conventional breath tests results over varying periods of time on typical individuals under varying degrees of alcohol intake." OK, so when one drinks, they transdermally emit ethanol, that study is done, and most was completed in 1992 by Robert Swift, before AMS existed. Any studies done on the abrasions and scars left by the device? Are they sanitized before reuse, and with what? How does one treat the wounds? Would not the bacteria accumulate in the bracelet, in the water? For-profit is not synonymous with for-justice. The duration can last up to three years, and while AMS has backed it's claim that 40% of wearers still drink or tamper to 18%, I am convinced that no human can wear this device for three years without a violation.
More: "While the number of alcohol-related deaths due to traffic fatalities has increased, so too has the total number of traffic deaths, though the percentage of total traffic fatalities due to alcohol remains at, or near, 40%." False, the NHTSA includes intoxicated pedestrians and passengers, (Ca. 2003) of the 1684 listed as drunk, 806 were tested over .08. NHTSA listed 878 drivers with no proof, under the "legal limit", and includes over 121 drivers at .00.

a) The California Attorney for Criminal Justice (CACJ) states, "CACJ is concerned that SCRAM devices have not been found to be wholly reliable. There is a scarcity of independent studies confirming the accuracy and reliability of these devices. For this reason, the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts has issued a warning to judges who want to mandate the use of the devices. There is too great a risk of false positives. CACJ is concerned that these untested devices will result in the wrongful incarceration and conviction of thousands of Californians. Yet, this bill does not establish any regulatory oversight, minimum product standards for SCRAM devices, or impose basic training requirements for individuals operating these devices. Without these safeguards, the State cannot ensure that SCRAM is reliable in every case. By contrast, the State has adopted extensive regulations governing the use of breathalyzers to reduce the possibility of unreliable test results.
b) The American Civil Liberties Union states, "We are concerned about the accuracy and effectiveness if these devices. We are concerned that these devices will have the same problem that the drug-sweat-patches have (e.g., false positives and defects that will be interpreted as tampering). Providing our concerns about the accuracy and effectiveness of the devices are met, we raise the following issues for your consideration: There are no time limits on the device and this bill also requires 60 days of abstinence before the person no longer must use the continuous alcohol monitoring devices. This looks an unintended consequence of the amendments (eliminating the three-year maximum) that should be clarified. Allowing the imposition of an alcohol monitoring device for driving with a suspended license (Vehicle Code Section 1460.2) with no indication of alcohol use (other than the initial DUI) seems unduly intrusive and unrelated to the offense of driving without a license. In practice, this requirement could mean an individual could have a continuous monitoring device imposed after being convicted of driving without a license after a single DUI (this could be years after the original DUI if the person never went to DUI school). Finally, we suggest that the individual's ability to pay for the devices be considered before any costs are imposed."
c) The Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety states, "This bill is overbroad and would lead to continued false positive readings by such devices for behavior which is entirely lawful. Notwithstanding personal viewpoints about whether or not such persons should continue to drink alcohol at all, the devices which would be utilized as a result of this bill have no means of differentiating between the detection of alcohol which is consumed in conjunction with driving and alcohol which is consumed in the privacy of one's own home with no connection to driving. Unfortunately, it is also unclear as to who would actually monitor these devices for the positive identification of alcohol and through what resources we would fund the monitoring. Law enforcement in general, including probation officers, already has a difficult time responding to the needs of communities. The overbroad application of the target technology seems wasteful of already scarce public safety resources. Vehicle ignition interruption devices would appear to be a more focused and reliable means of addressing DUIs."

Support also comes from members of the judiciary and special interest groups such as MADD. This would make California the 5th state to enact a law that makes this a sentencing option. I wonder if Bermudez, is aware of how many subjects were convicted for wearing socks or incidental exposure, justice or simply interested in furthering a political career?