Dispute over satellite tracking causes monitoring of monitors

Robinson showed ABC News 4 the satellite monitoring system above he uses to track suspected criminals on bond. (Rebecca Lamb/WCIV)

By Natalie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- For more than a decade Jim Robinson, a bond and monitoring company owner, says he's been fighting to get regulations in place over companies like his.

"We don't make, it's $60 a week and what it costs me for the units, what it costs me to monitor, I'm not making a lot of money, very little money," Robinson said. "We've encouraged the sheriff's office before to take a look at it."

That's what Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson says her office is considering, having the sheriff's office take over the monitoring of suspected criminals on bond. Robinson says he's even reached out to state legislators to get legislation drafted for regulations over monitoring.

Charleston County Sheriff's Office spokesman, Major Jim Brady, says it's just in the consideration phase and says he doesn't know how much it would cost the sheriff's office.

"That's what I've been trying to get done for years. I begged everybody. Because, like I said, you can open a monitoring company tomorrow. You can go to Radio Shack, buy some boxes and stuff and go out and hook a strap on someone and tell them you're in the monitoring business," Robinson said.

Robinson says some bonding companies, who have the power to arrest, don't do anything when he reports the defendant isn't where he's supposed to be -- based on the satellite tracking.

"We've been in the dilemma that when we notify people, nothing's done," he said.

Prosecutors say an example of the problem was seen in court Thursday with DeAngelo Mitchell, charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Officials say he was violating his house arrest, and Robinson says he warned Mitchell's bond agent he was roaming the streets late at night.

"I think this is the tip of the iceberg," Wilson said about the case.

It's something court leaders are hoping to stop for good. Circuit Court Judge Stephanie McDonald is writing an order that would detail the regulations and responsibilities of monitoring and bond companies.