BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — SALEM — A repeat drunken driver charged last summer with drunken boating, after hitting a sailboat and careening around Salem Harbor until he ran aground, won’t have to go back to jail to await trial, even though he allegedly twice violated the conditions of his release.
On Monday night, Bradford Billings Smith, 43, of Salem was called at random to submit two breath samples on a device called a Sobrietor, which is used to monitor alcohol use while people are on probation or awaiting trial at home.
According to a probation officer and a prosecutor, Smith registered nearly half the legal limit for driving on two tests, when he was supposed to have no alcohol at all in his system. They urged Salem District Court Judge Sabita Singh to revoke his bail and send him to Middleton Jail to await trial.
That’s where Smith was sent after his arrest on July 31. He was later released to an alcohol treatment facility on the South Shore, where he spent six months. Last month, he was released and allowed to live at home, with the condition that he provide the random alcohol samples.
But prosecutor Alex Grimes yesterday argued that it just isn’t working out and that Smith should be locked up again. Last week, Smith ignored two calls from the monitoring center and failed to submit samples, later saying he had fallen asleep and didn’t hear the calls.
Then on Monday, he submitted two samples that tested at 0.038 and 0.039. He’s not supposed to be drinking any alcohol, the prosecutor noted.
Defense lawyer Mark Barry says his client insists he wasn’t drinking.
Barry said his client was brushing his teeth when he got the calls and blew into the device.
That’s similar to the excuse offered a few years back by a former state senator who failed a home monitoring test. It didn’t work in Sen. Anthony Gallucio’s case.
But it may have worked yesterday. It’s not clear, since Singh called the lawyers and probation officers to the side of her bench for a lengthy discussion, then rejected the request to send Smith to jail. She did not say why, but she did advise Smith that there are dental products on the market that do not contain alcohol.
In response to a suggestion by Barry, she also asked the probation department to check the device to make sure it’s working properly.
Smith is due back in court April 19.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.