Andrew Luster, the fugitive rapist recently captured in Mexico, slipped away despite an electronic anklet that was supposed to notify authorities if he fled. The Los Angeles Times says that if Luster strayed more than 150 feet from his house, a radio transmitter was to flash an “out of range” message that would be relayed every 15 minutes to a monitoring service.
The service was told to ignore the warnings during the 12 hours a day that Luster was permitted to leave his home. On the day he fled, the warning came at 8:30 a.m. but was ignored until he failed to return by his 8 p.m. curfew.
By contrast, accused spy Katrina Leung will be equipped with a device hooked up to a global positioning satellite system that can monitor her every move. All such devices use U.S. Defense Department satellites. The state-of-the-art monitor Leung will wear is about the size of a portable car stereo and represents the next generation in electronic surveillance.
There are about 1,000 people on house arrest in Los Angeles County, most of whom pay $40 a month for the radio monitoring system. About 100 federal defendants in the Central District of California, which includes Los Angeles, are tracked by the more sophisticated GPS monitoring system.
Electronic monitoring saved Los Angeles County $18 million last year by taking inmates sentenced to 60 days or less out of crowded jails and sending them home to serve their time.