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Commission on the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program
Commission on the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program
VASAP Case Management Policy and Procedure Manual [24 VAC 35 ‑ 30]
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12/6/19  9:03 pm
Commenter: Cynthia Hites

ASAPs Operating Above the Law

     ASAP caseworkers can't be allowed to extend or restart someone's 6 month interlock time based on failed readings.
     The nature of the ignition interlock is to detect and measure the electricity generated from the presence of any compound within the alcohols group.  A high alcohol reading can come from one of many compounds, and only upon a preponderance of the evidence can one reasonably conclude it's ethanol. (C2H60)
     ASAP workers are expressly precluded from considering evidence like PBTs, police reports, sworn testimony, urinalysis, and blood-alcohol tests.
     Richard Foy stated last December that "VASAP would not be comfortable in considering those results because it tends to put us in a judicial role. We feel any additional evidence of this sort would be presented to the court in a non-compliance hearing..."  And he's right.
     18.2-271.1, F states "The court shall have jurisdiction over any person entering such program under any provision of this section until such time as the case has been disposed of by either successful completion of the program or revocation due to ineligibility or violation of a condition or conditions imposed by the court, whichever shall first occur. Revocation proceedings shall be commenced by notice to show cause why the court should not revoke the privilege afforded by this section."
     A hearing is necessary to protect innocent people because of the many different ways ASAPs have been shown to violate citizens' rights.
    Peninsula ASAP senior caseworker Kim Young Barcliff restarted my 6 month interlock time based solely on evidence she manipulated.  She falsified a violation by omitting 5 hours and 50 minutes of exonerating datalog readings, restarted my time, then never filed it with the court.
     This is like a police officer planting evidence on someone, charging them with a crime, then having the power to both try and convict them. Of course, this is criminal, and all responsible agencies, including VASAP, have been confronted with the proof, yet Barcliff retains her position. How many people has she done this to?  This is just one example of the level of impunity with which ASAPs are operating.
     ASAP workers are just ordinary folks who are not employed by the Commonwealth.  They're certainly not judges, and they haven't passed the bar.  ASAP workers have no business declaring anyone guilty before a hearing.  It's an enormous abuse of power.
     Unfortunately, there is a mammoth conflict of interest built into the fiscal structure of the VASAP program, as each interlock calibration financially benefits not only the interlock companies, but ASAP and VASAP, alike.  Every calibration yields $10 each for both ASAP and VASAP, so it's in ASAP's best interest to extend everyone's interlock time as long as possible.
     My good friend was sent to court for high interlock readings from a sublingual migraine medicine she didn't know contained the sugar alcohol, Mannitol. The readings at 7:51 am were rising, meaning, ASAP's accusation was four months into her interlock time, she drank that morning, just before taking his daughter to school.
     She presented her evidence to a judge, showed cause, and the case was dismissed.  But, unbelievably, ASAP forced her to keep the interlock on her car over 4 months past her compliance date, and over 2 months beyond her court dismissal.  She couldn't appeal a dismissal and was left no recourse.
     This is an egregious example of how ASAP workers are usurping the authority of the court.
      18.2-270.1 says offenders must have "not less than six consecutive months without alcohol-related violations of the interlock requirement." That doesn't mean ASAP has the authority to declare a violation before a judge can hear the evidence.  Until then, it's a suspected violation. For ASAP to change a person's compliance date before a hearing is to deny them due process.
     #8 of the VASAP Ignition Interlock Agreement states "Breath tests above the fail point...are considered violations." All evidence must be considered, and if every high reading is considered a violation, then EVERY high reading must go to court.
     We must protect the rights of all Virginians.  We must be cognizant of false confession. What happens when a citizen is confronted by an ASAP worker with the choice to either restart their 6-month interlock time or appear in court and face a potential jail sentence?  ASAP has been using fear to coerce people.
     We must guard against human error, against human greed, and malice.  This is why America has channels established in a judicial system; United States' citizens have a process by which to defend themselves against such accusations.  The Constitution is our safeguard against these types of abuses.
     ASAP must be prevented from levying accusations, then adjudicating them.  To do anything less is unethical, a disservice to Virginians, and against the governing principles of our American judicial system.

CommentID: 77218