Home Monitoring Vendor’s Reliability Questioned After Shooting
In 2009, Raven Wyatt, then only five years of age, was struck by a stray bullet fired by a juvenile offender, Lamont Davis, who was supposed to be at home, as monitored by a iSECUREtrac Inc.’s ankle GPS tracking system. During Davis’ trial, iSECUREtrac’s service flaws were exposed, raising doubts about the reliability of the location data the company gathered.
After the shooting, the then-secretary of juvenile services said he had “concerns” about the iSECUREtrac’s technology. After reviewing the vendor’s technology, though, Jay Cleary, a spokesman with the Department of Juvenile Services, said officials were satisfied.” We found that the (data from iSECUREtrac) was reliable and worked and functioned as it should have that day,” he said Wednesday. He added that GPS monitoring is just a part of supervision of youth offenders. ” It doesn’t replace any supervision on our part.” The State extended the contract with iSECUREtrac for an additional three years, valued at $2.7 million. The State is not named as a defendant in the Wyatt family’s current lawsuit.
After Davis’ trial, both the Department of Juvenile Services and the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention said they were confident that the records showing Davis was home at the time of the shooting were accurate. Neither agency would, however, go so far as to claim Davis innocent.
The family’s attorney, W. Charles Bailey Jr., states that “Lamont Davis figured out how to fool the (iSECUREtrac ankle monitoring) system, and he is not unique given our understanding. iSECUREtrac was in a position to know about that and at a minimum had a duty to warn the state and solve the problems within their system.”
During Davis’ trial, it came out that the State-mandated ankle tracking system, provided by iSECUREtrac, does not work in all areas, creating “dead zones” that could provide false data about location. However, as State officials noted, the program still indicates when the person is out of bounds and logs the incident as a violation. Prior to the shooting, iSECUREtrac’s records of Davis’ whereabouts indicated eight previous violations.
On the night of the shooting, Davis was captured on a police surveillance camera showing him shooting into a crowded intersection at another teen. Ms. Wyatt was hit in the head by a stray bullet. She now suffers from uncontrollable movements of her limbs and speech difficulties. Her medical expenses are greater than what Medicaid will cover.
Raven’s mother is now suing the iSECUREtrac Inc., in the U.S. District Court, claiming that the company knew its tracking system product was flawed. “Defendant knew, or reasonably could have been expected to know, that if these juveniles were not under home detention and using their product, then such juveniles would be incarcerated or otherwise locked up in jails,” the lawsuit contends. “Given this fact, defendant had a duty to provide reasonable assurances regarding safety and effectiveness of its home monitoring system given the dangers posed by the individuals being monitored.” The lawsuit claims that iSECUREtrac’s home monitoring system was “defective, unmerchantable, and unfit for its ordinary use.” The family is seeking $70 million.