Monitor is ordered as part of bail: District judge rules man accused of arson must wear alcohol-detection ankle bracelet as condition for bail.
In response to an accused arsonist’s plea for help with an alcohol problem, a Luzerne County district judge Wednesday ordered the man to wear an alcohol-detection ankle bracelet as a condition for bail. Judge Paul Hadzick ordered Adam DeWolfe, 21, of Swoyersville to wear a SCRAM — Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor — until his formal arraignment in the county Court of Common Pleas on Oct. 3. While Court of Common Pleas judges have ordered the use of SCRAMs in probation orders, Hadzick said he believes this was the first time a county district judge issued an order for a SCRAM as part of a bail condition.
Police said DeWolfe admitted to pouring a flammable liquid on the passenger side and hood of a 1998 Hyundai Accent owned by Carmela Dinallo July 2 and setting fire to the car after he had an argument with a relative. In exchange for DeWolfe pleading guilty to a third-degree felony count of arson, prosecutors at DeWolfe’s preliminary hearing agreed to withdraw a first-degree felony count of arson and would not oppose reduction of DeWolfe’s bail from $25,000 cash to $25,000 unsecured. Although it was unclear at the hearing if DeWolfe had been drinking when the crime occurred, DeWolfe told the judge he wants help with his alcohol problem. Hadzick told DeWolfe the bracelet would monitor him for alcohol intake 24 hours a day, and the monitoring company would know within minutes if he consumed alcohol.
If alcohol is detected in his system, DeWolfe’s bail will be revoked. “You’re either going to stay clean or go to jail,” Hadzick said. Lori Bieber, a representative of Dunmore-based Mid Atlantic Monitoring Services, was in court and said her company would provide DeWolfe free monitoring on a trial basis. “I appreciate it so much,” DeWolfe said. Mid Atlantic Monitoring Services already provides monitoring services to Luzerne County Probation Services. Chris Patte, field supervisor for probation services, said his department has been using the SCRAM devices for nearly a year on drunken-driving offenders, and he finds them “very effective.
We can monitor people 24/7.” Patte said he expects the bracelets will be more commonly used after Luzerne County creates a DUI treatment court.