Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Help Me Howard: Ankle Bracelet
It's one of those good news/bad news things. The bad news: You get arrested in Colorado. The good news: You can go back to Florida if you can find someone to rent you an electronic monitoring braclet. Sounds easy, but how do you find one, and is it legal for someone to go out and rent an ankle bracelet? It's a question for Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Just call Brett the man with a few problems: Like when he was visiting Colorado last year and had a problem with the weather.
Brett Erdmann: "Snowstorms. I got caught in a snowstorm. It took me two hours to go two blocks."
That's when Brett decided to come back to Florida; but, before he packed up, he picked up another problem.
Brett Erdmann: "And had a couple of drinks and got pulled over."
Apparently Brett had more than a couple of drinks -- he had a DUI.
But he also had a sympathetic judge who told him 30 days in a Colorado slammer, or...
Brett Erdmann: "Since I didn't live in Denver, he thought it would be easier for me to do my time here."
However, there was a catch: Brett had to stay under house arrest and wear an ankle bracelet for 120 days.
Brett Erdmann: "The electronic monitor, just like Martha Stewart wore after she got out of Camp Cupcake."
Sounds simple. Rent a device like this, and you get to stay out of jail.
Patrick Fraser: "Sounded simple?"
Brett Erdmann: "Exactly."
Patrick Fraser: "Is it?"
Brett Erdmann: "Not really, not with Dade County or Broward County."
It turns out that Dade and Broward only supply ankle bracelets to their own criminals. Brett's problem is Colorado's, or else...
Patrick Fraser: "So if you don't find the ankle bracelet, you have to go back to Colorado and go to jail?"
Brett Erdmann: "I would assume."
But can you just go out and rent an ankle bracelet to comply with an out-of-town judge's order? Let's turn to the guy who has a few clients wearing those things: Howard...
Howard Finkelstein: "As long as the court that sentences you agrees that you can be monitored by a private company, you can do it. The problem that Brett found -- it's not easy to find a company willing to do it and meet the court requirements."
We then searched the country before we discovered Secure Alert out of Atlanta. Rick Parker happened to be in Miami that week and brought the device over to Brett.
Rick Parker: "So, basically this device is a one-piece ankle bracelet that's got active."
Secure Alert provides the bracelets to the courts and agreed to monitor Brett's device 24-hours-a-day.
Stephen Miller: "He can't take it off, and if he tries to take it off, or tries to tamper with it in any way, it'll set off an alarm back at our monitoring center."
And that's when the operator uses the built-in cellphone to tell the wearer they are about to get in trouble.
Doesn't sound like fun, but it beats a small cot in a cold Colorado jail.
Patrick Fraser: "Let me ask you a question: Are you happy to have it on there?"
Brett Erdmann: "Oh, I'm elated. I'm very, very pleased."
Patrick Fraser: "By the way, Brett is paying for that device -- $300 a month, and each county handles their monitoring system differently. For example, Broward leases the devices and monitors them, the person wearing it pays for it. And, finally, if you want to put an ankle bracelet on someone to keep track of them, if you can find a company to rent one to you, it's legal.
Monitoring a situation that's locked you down? Want to be free of it? Contact us, our device is free, just a law book and some leg work.
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