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Ruggs ordered to wear ankle monitor that measures alcohol level 24/7

Updated November 22, 2021 - 2:59 pm

A judge on Monday ordered former Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs to wear an ankle monitor 24 hours a day to measure his alcohol level through his skin after he missed one of his daily alcohol tests.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum made the ruling at a hearing in Ruggs’ fatal DUI case, which Ruggs was ordered to attend in person after the missed test from a handheld device.

A judge allowed Ruggs to use a handheld device to monitor his alcohol level through a breath test when he was first placed on house arrest because a cast on his leg did not allow him to wear the ankle monitor, defense attorney David Chesnoff said Monday.

After listening to arguments from Chesnoff and prosecutor Aaron Nance, as well as testimony from a representative of the company in charge of the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring device, or SCRAM, Baucum said it appeared that Ruggs’ missed test was due to a miscommunication.

“As everybody knows this is a high-profile case, but you have to be treated the same as any other defendant, as any other person that appears before the court,” Baucum said.

Ruggs, who faces DUI charges following a Nov. 2 crash that left 23-year-old Tina Tintor dead, has been out of custody on house arrest since posting bail. His lawyers have been appearing in court on his behalf.

Under the conditions of his release, court records show, he is prohibited from driving and consuming alcohol or drugs. The handheld device he had been using required random breath tests four times a day.

The ankle monitor Ruggs must now wear will measure his alcohol level through his skin every 30 minutes. He also was ordered to wear a GPS monitor.

“If there are any problems, if there is any alcohol detected in your system, you need to know that that’s going to be problematic for this court going forward,” Baucum told Ruggs, who stood next to his attorneys during the hearing.

The judge said state law did not allow her to revoke Ruggs’ bail on Monday, although she could have raised his bail.

‘Extremely cooperative’

Ruggs’ attorneys declined to comment after the hearing. Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson also declined to comment.

According to court minutes, Ruggs failed to take his remote breath test at 4:41 p.m. on Nov. 13 but took a “client initiated” remote test at 6:28 that evening.

Chesnoff told Baucum the missed test came after a missed alert from the monitor, and that two people who were with Ruggs also did not hear the device go off.

Jennifer Rangel, the SCRAM representative, said the device “behaved as it should normally” on Nov. 13. She said SCRAM also had been attempting to send text messages to Ruggs to alert him when a test was needed, but the messages were not being delivered.

Chesnoff said police confiscated Ruggs’ cellphone after he gave SCRAM his number, but he has since provided the company with an updated number.

Ruggs said he previously gave the new number to his attorneys and house arrest officials. That was the only time he spoke during Monday’s hearing.

“You should have notified SCRAM that you had a new telephone number,” Baucum said.

When questioned by Chesnoff, Rangel said Ruggs had been “extremely cooperative” with the alcohol testing.

Prosecutors did not ask for Ruggs to be held in contempt of court, which Baucum could have ordered, but did request the higher level of alcohol monitoring.

“I think that it should be crystal clear that future violations of any kind should not be tolerated and should be judged and dealt with, with the upmost severity,” Nance said.

A faint beeping noise was heard from Ruggs during the court hearing, which Chesnoff said was coming from the handheld device requesting a random test.

‘Potential head injuries’

At the end of the hearing, Chesnoff asked if Ruggs should go ahead and take the breath test. Baucum allowed Ruggs and his lawyers to go into a back hallway of the courthouse not accessible to the public to take the test, “so as not to do that in front of the cameras,” she said.

Chesnoff and his co-counsel, Richard Schonfeld, also were in court last week after requesting a subpoena for Clark County Fire Department communications related to the deadly crash, including text messages, video footage, photographs, log reports and recordings of dispatch calls.

In the court documents, defense attorneys said they have a witness who alleges that firefighters failed to quickly put out the fire in Tintor’s RAV4.

Baucum on Wednesday declined to issue the subpoena, but she said the defense attorneys could issue their own subpoenas for the public records. Prosecutor Eric Bauman indicated that the Fire Department should comply with the defense request.

Tintor’s Toyota burst into flames after Ruggs, who prosecutors said was driving 156 mph seconds before the crash, slammed into the back of her car in a residential area near Rainbow Boulevard and Spring Valley Parkway.

Ruggs’ blood alcohol level measured 0.16 percent after the crash, prosecutors have said. That is twice the legal limit for Nevada drivers. He was released by the Raiders less than 24 hours after the crash.

Ruggs has been charged with felony counts of DUI resulting in death, DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm, and two counts of reckless driving resulting in death or substantial bodily harm in connection with Tintor’s death and injuries his longtime girlfriend, Rudy Washington, suffered in the crash.

In addition to Ruggs’ leg injury, Chesnoff indicated Monday that he suffered “potential head injuries” in the crash.

Ruggs also has been charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of a firearm while under the influence, court records show. Authorities have said a loaded weapon was found in his Chevrolet Corvette Stingray after the crash.

He faces up to 40 years behind bars if convicted of the DUI counts.

Defense attorneys also filed court documents last week arguing that turning over Ruggs’ medical records and allowing health care professionals to testify about his treatment following the crash violates doctor-patient privilege.

A hearing regarding the medical records is scheduled for Dec. 8.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Glenn Puit contributed to this report.

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