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Jul 2 10 7:27 PM
By Patty Fisher
What is Jaycee Dugard going to do with $20 million?
Of all the questions ricocheting around the airwaves about the stunning settlement the state of California offered the victim of one of the most bizarre, appalling and sensational crimes ever, that's the question I find most interesting.
Not was $20 million enough or too much. Not should the state have paid her anything at all. I wonder how this 30-year-old woman, who grew up without a cell phone or designer jeans, spend her new wealth? And will it buy her happiness?I was taken aback to learn that the California Legislature agreed to settle Dugard's claim against the Department of Corrections for $20 million. Yes, the incompetence of the parole officials was beyond belief. And how could so many people fail to notice that convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido, who kidnapped Jaycee in 1991, was holding her prisoner for 18 years and had fathered her two daughters. Had just one parole officer shown the least bit of initiative, she might have been freed years ago. She might have graduated from high school, gone to college, had children with a husband she adored.
Yes, she deserves restitution.
She's not the only victim
But there are thousands of people whose lives have been ruined by incompetent police investigators, parole officers, prosecutors and defense attorneys. People who have gone bankrupt fighting unjust charges. People who have wasted their lives in prison for crimes they didn't commit. Dugard is not the only person victimized by a parolee who wasn't being watched. The state can't afford to pay off everyone. And in a year when California is facing a $19 billion deficit, when police officers are being laid off and we're letting people out of prison to cut down on crowding, I can't help wondering how we can afford to pay Dugard $20 million from our tattered general fund. It might have been spent to better manage ways to keep many other crimes from occurring.
Dugard has expenses, and the state should be generous. We could have bought her a house, paid her a steep stipend, covered her family's medical and therapy bills and given them free tuition at the UC or CSU of their choice. Taking that kind of responsibility still would not come to $20 million.
Putting a price tag on life
State officials insist it was cheaper than risking a trial — and they're probably right.
No one knows how to you put a dollar value on 18 tortured years of a woman's life. She was 11 when Garrido grabbed her off her bike on her way to school. She's 30 now. The years she lost — middle school, high school, college, her 20s — never can be reclaimed. How much is a simple dinner with her family worth? How much would she have given to play on a soccer team, hang out at the mall, take drivers ed, study for the SATs? How can we possibly put a price on having friends, meeting a boy at a dance, a first kiss?
Dugard and her attorneys apparently decided that $20 million was a fair price. Some say it's paltry. Others call it ridiculous. I'm torn.
Money can buy comfort and privacy. It can buy her a nice house with security cameras to keep out the paparazzi, financial security for her children. But if what Dugard wants is to have her life back, I fear she'll find that no amount of money can't buy that for her.
Jul 3 10 5:03 PM
Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped, raped and held prisoner for 18 years by convicted rapist Philip Garrido. He was aided and abetted by his wife Nancy Garrido.
Well, not that it has been proven. The Garridos says they are innocent. They want their day in court.
Jaycee Dugard went missing on her way to school in 1991. She was found in August, 2009, hidden with her daughters – two by Garrido – in the back garden of his house in the Antioch, Californian.
In February, 2010, the Dugard family sued the State for saying state officials with the department of corrections and rehabilitation had failed them.
Could the state deny it? No. The matter was settled quickly. The claims bill passed the California State Assembly 62-0 and passed the Senate 30-1.
And now the matter goes to court – with the verdict decided…
Jul 4 10 8:34 AM
Can you put a price on rape? It’s an uncomfortable question – but one that the state of California has grappled with recently, and ultimately the state Assembly voted Thursday to award $20 million to Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped at age 11 outside her home in Northern California, and rescued last year after spending 18 years in captivity. During that period, Dugard had two daughters, both allegedly fathered by her abductor, Phillip Garrido.
The settlement was approved by the Assembly after Dugard and her daughters filed a claim through the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, accusing the state of negligence, failure to discharge a mandatory duty and infliction of emotional distress stemming from the fact that Garrido was under state parole supervision for previous crimes. According to the Los Angeles Times, though the Corrections Department won’t admit any wrongdoing, lawyers working for the state warned that a jury would likely award Dugard a much larger amount if the case went to trial. So, though lawmakers admitted in an analysis that the Dugard case “a unique and tragic character,” they were essentially taking the most cost-effective route in disposing of it. In a state crippled by budget problems, this isn’t necessarily unreasonable.
But it does introduce the unnerving task of determining what’s an appropriate amount of compensation for a victim of a terrible crime – one that will require, as the analysis pointed out, extensive counseling for Dugard and her daughters probably for the rest of their lives. It also noted that “Ms. Dugard’s daughters have received no formal education and neither is equipped to handle the academic or social challenges that school – and society — will pose, nor has Mrs. Dugard received any education since her abduction.”
In addition to helping victims live their lives and recover from their trauma in relative comfort – or at least with fewer financial burdens impeding their recovery – compensation awards of this nature are also intended to punish the state for failing to do its job. If Garrido had been monitored more closely, perhaps Dugard could have been found much sooner. Several senators touched on this concept indirectly this week during Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings when they chastised the court for not awarding victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill enough money in punitive damages, thereby not giving oil companies enough incentive to, ahem, clean up their acts and avoid future spills.
So where does Dugard’s award stack up with other notable California crime victims? It’s – rightly – much more than the$1.43 million awarded by the city of Los Angeles to Tennie Pierce, the black firefighter who filed suit after his co-workers laced his dinner with dog food, which he said was characteristic of the way minorities and women were treated within the department. In that case, too, officials agreed to pay because they were advised that a jury would award the victim a much larger sum. The Roman Catholic church has agreed to pay several large settlements over the last decade to victims of priest abuse – including a $21 million payout by the Archdiocese of San Francisco (split among 15 victims), and a $100 million settlement agreed to by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange (split among 90 victims).
It is often said of awards to victims that no amount of money can make up for the psychological distress they’ve endured, or the amount of time with loved ones and experiencing life that they’ve lost. But here’s hoping that Dugard and her family can take the money from the state, and the support of well-wishers across the globe, and begin rebuilding happy, healthy lives for themselves – and that state workers charged with keeping ex-felons in line will remember that if the safety of children isn’t enough incentive to work painstakingly hard at their jobs, perhaps the threat of an enormous lawsuit is.
Jul 4 10 3:31 PM
Jul 4 10 8:36 PM
Monday July 4, 2010
JAYCEE Lee Dugard, the girl kidnapped and held in squalid captivity in the US for 18 years until her discovery last August, is being hounded by another stranger – her biological father.
Just as Jaycee, now aged 30, was last week awarded a staggering £13.2million compensation by the state of California, her biological father Kenneth Slayton is suing to force himself into her life.
Slayton has never seen his daughter, having split from her mother, Terry Probyn, before Jaycee was born, and showing no interest when she was kidnapped at the age of 11.
Following her kidnapping ordeal by sexual predator Phillip Garrido, 59, and his wife Nancy, 54, being repeatedly raped and bearing Garrido’s two children, Jaycee has remained in hiding and has shunned her biological father’s attempts to contact her.Slayton has now gone to court demanding to “establish a parental relationship with her”.
His bid to force himself into her life was branded “disgusting” by Vern Pierson, the district attorney of El Dorado County, California, who is prosecuting the Garridos with 29 counts each of kidnapping, imprisonment and rape. Jaycee has hit out at the “terror” of facing Slayton’s demands.Family spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer said: “She does not want to see Mr Slayton... DNA does not make a family.”
Slayton’s desire to share Jaycee’s life comes as she was awarded the £13.2million compensation by the California State Assembly, backed by governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Jaycee had sued the state for psychological, emotional and physical damages for failing to properly monitor her abductor Phillip Garrido, a former rapist and kidnapper out on parole.
A pretty, gap-toothed blonde, Jaycee was walking to the bus stop in 1991 when snatched off the street in South Lake Tahoe, California, by both Garridos.
Repeatedly raped, she bore Phillip Garrido’s two daughters – Angel, 16, and Starlit, 12.
They lived in a ramshackle series of tents, shacks and cages hidden behind the Garridos’ home in Antioch, northern California.
The dwellings were unseen by all Garrido’s parole officers and also not noticed during several police visits.
In making its massive payout, the state of California’s official analysis stated: “It is a virtual certainty Ms Dugard and daughters will require counselling for the rest of their lives.
“Ms Dugard’s daughters have received no formal education and neither is equipped to handle the academic or social challenges that school – and society – will pose, nor has Ms Dugard received any education since her abduction.”
Adding to the pressures on Jaycee, Garrido has gone to court demanding visiting rights to his two children by rape, and Nancy Garrido is asking for meetings with Jaycee.
Jaycee and her daughters are now living at an undisclosed California location, receiving psychological counselling and home schooling.
As they slowly put their lives back together, Jaycee has passed her driving test. In her first statement since her release, Jaycee said: “It’s been a long haul, but I’m getting there.”
Jul 9 10 10:51 AM
The revelation about how parole agents missed another opportunity to rescue Miss Dugard is contained in a report obtained by The Associated Press under the California Public Records Act.
Miss Dugard, now 30, said parole agents spoke with her during her captivity, and with the older of the two daughters she bore to Phillip Garrido. Garrido has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and raping Miss Dugard, who was 11 when she disappeared.
The document was prepared by the attorney general's office and sent to politicians in advance of their vote last week to settle with the Dugard family for $20 million.
Ms Dugard and her daughters, ages 15 and 12, claimed that state parole agents failed to properly supervise Garrido starting in 1999 and did not follow up on reports and observations that might have led to their rescue. They finally surfaced last August, after living for nearly two decades in a compound in the backyard of Garrido's house in the eastern San Francisco Bay area city of Antioch.
Previous reports from the state corrections department and an independent inspector general said parole agents had discovered one of the girls Garrido had fathered with Miss Dugard but accepted his explanation that she was a niece. That contact was made in 2008 when the girl was 12.
Those reports made no mention of any contact between parole agents and Miss Dugard while she was being held captive.
Inspector general spokeswoman Laura Hill declined to comment on the attorney general's internal report.
Jul 9 10 10:57 AM
Parole agents allegedly talked to kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard at one point in her 18-year imprisonment near Antioch, but never made the cursory sort of check that could have identified and freed her, a report obtained by The Chronicle shows.
The internal memo was prepared by the state attorney general's office in late June before the Legislature agreed to pay Dugard and her daughters, fathered by suspect Phillip Garrido, a $20 million settlement.
The report states: "Agents saw and spoke to Ms. Dugard and her eldest daughter but failed to investigate their identities or their relationship to Garrido." The episode is cited in a section of the memo titled "Negligence" that lists the Dugard family's reasons why it deserved compensation from the state.
Echoing missteps cited in state reports released last year, the memo also lists claims that parole agents failed to adequately search Garrido's home or to find the secret backyard compound where Dugard and her two daughters were imprisoned. They also misclassified Garrido, a convicted rapist who acted so oddly that neighbors called him "Creepy Phil," as a low-risk offender, the report points out.
Christine Gasparac, spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, confirmed that the allegations were made by Dugard's lawyers during settlement talks with the state. She said she could not elaborate on the names of the parole agents who spoke with Dugard or when the conversation took place.
"We can't comment beyond what's in the report," she said.
Dugard, now 30, was kidnapped off a street near her home in South Lake Tahoe when she was 11. She was discovered in August just outside Antioch living in a ramshackle spread of tents and shacks behind the home of Garrido, 58, and his wife, Nancy, 54. Living with her in the compound were the two daughters, now ages 15 and 12, that she had by Garrido.
The Garridos have pleaded not guilty to 29 counts of rape and other crimes. Police say they snatched Dugard together and kept her in the backyard prison as a sex slave, twisting her mind so thoroughly over the years that she defended the couple to investigators when they finally discovered where she was.
Dugard and her family filed their claim against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in February, accusing the agency of "various lapses" in its conduct that led to her and her daughters being imprisoned longer than they would have otherwise.
Both houses of the Legislature approved the $20 million settlement on July 1. Among the costs cited as reasons for the amount, mediators said Dugard and her daughters will need about $7 million in their lifetimes for therapy, assisted living and counseling.
They also will reportedly need about $450,000 for formal education, which all three were unable to get during their time with Garrido but have told investigators they now want to pursue.
Jul 9 10 11:07 AM
US parole agents spoke to - but did not recognise - Jaycee Dugard, the woman held captive by a paroled rapist for 18 years in California. The agents failed to follow up on a meeting with the missing girl and did not attempt to investigate her identity, according to a newly-publicised report by the state attorney's office.
Dugard was kidnapped by Phillip Garrido in 1991 when she was 11, and later bore two children by him. Her story evoking that of Elisabeth Fritzl, kept in a home-made dungeon by her Austrian father Josef, Dugard finally surfaced last August after two decades in a tent in the backyard of Garrido's house in the San Francisco Bay-area city of Antioch.
At the time he abducted Dugard, Garrido had already served 11 years in prison for a rape and kidnap in Nevada. Released on parole in 1988, he wore an electronic tag and had to make regular contact with parole officers. Despite being under this supervision, he was somehow able to kidnap and hold captive Jaycee Dugard for almost two decades, fathering two daughters by her.
It was announced last week that the state of California will pay $20m compensation to the Dugard family for failing to properly supervise Garrido. And the report – sent to California lawmakers as they prepared to vote on the compensation – makes clear that the allegation that parole agents actually encountered Jaycee Dugard was a major factor in that decision.
The California attorney general's spokeswoman Christine Gasparac said the new allegation had been made by Dugard during meetings between her legal team and the state, but said she could not give any further details – or a date - of the encounter between Dugard and parole officers.
It was already public knowledge that a parole officer had encountered a 12-year-old girl at Garrido's home in 2008 but accepted his explanation that she was his niece.
It is thought Californian authorities decided on the huge settlement because they feared the family might win an even greater payout if the case came to court. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he will sign the settlement.
The report notes that the average payment to victims is $2m, but said the $20m for Dugard was justified by "uniquely tragic circumstances". It estimates therapy alone could cost $7m for Dugard and her daughters, while education will be another $450,000 – none of the three received any schooling while they were imprisoned.
Aug 8 10 9:29 AM
KIDNAP sex slave victim Jaycee Dugard is facing fresh agony as her dad takes legal action over her £12.5million compensation payout. She has been hit by a legal claim from the biological father she’s never seen following the compo payment for her 18 years of misery. Kenneth Slayton, 64, has launched a court paternity petition despite the fact Jaycee, now 30, has issued a public statement saying she “never wishes to see” him. Slayton, who says he is suffering from cancer, has vowed: “I will never give up the effort to make contact. I want to protect and love her.” El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson, who is prosecuting Jaycee’s jailed abductors Phillip Garrido, 58, and his wife Nancy, 54, said: “It’s a sad commentary on our society that a man professes all he wants is to love and protect her and, damn it, he’ll sue her for the right to do it.”
Aug 18 10 5:29 PM
ANTIOCH -- Calm has returned to Walnut Avenue.
Drive through the rural neighborhood during the day and you may spot a flock of chickens strutting across the road or a child riding a bicycle in the dirt. At night, activity is even more sparse.
Nearly a year ago, that was anything but the case.
On Aug. 26, 2009, this unincorporated Contra Costa County tract just outside Antioch became the epicenter of media coverage around the world when longtime residents Phillip and Nancy Garrido were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping Jaycee Dugard and holding her for 18 years in the backyard of their Walnut Avenue house.
The spotlight eventually dimmed, but the sordid tale of the Garridos' arrest and accusations of the sexual captivity of Dugard still resonate among residents, who say their lives were disrupted and the neighborhood unfairly stigmatized as a haven for sex offenders.
The neighborhood of large lots and isolated properties is "back to normal," said Helen Boyer, who lives next to the fenced-off Garrido house -- which had a hidden backyard lair that authorities said shielded Dugard and the two daughters she bore Garrido. The house today stands vacant, its fate undecided.
Sounds of wind chimes, rustling tree branches and barking dogs again fill the air on Walnut. Gone are the hum of television trucks transmitting the story to network affiliates and helicopters loudly flying overhead to snap pictures of the backyard compound of tents and sheds that authorities say was Dugard's prison.
"It's been quiet. Occasionally, a news truck will drive by. I just figure that means there's something going on with (Garrido) in court," Boyer said.
Though there is a sense of normality in the neighborhood, things may never be the same. Certainly they aren't for the Garridos' one-time next-door neighbor, Damon Robinson.
Robinson's thoughts on the ordeal jump from his longtime suspicions that Garrido was a sexual predator to the frustration of being forced out of his home while investigators scoured for clues to Dugard's captivity -- as well as unsolved child-abduction cases in which Phillip Garrido became a suspect.
Robinson tears up thinking about the toll the media attention took on his mom and daughter, and grows frustrated recalling how his name was splashed across television.
Robinson was never a suspect, but Garrido had roamed the grounds of Robinson's home before Robinson moved there, leading investigators to declare it a potential crime scene.
"It's still tough. Everywhere Phil's name is, my name is too," Robinson said.
Robinson said he and then-girlfriend Haydee Perry alerted the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office in 2006 about suspicions that Garrido had people living in his backyard.
A deputy spoke with Garrido in front of his home but never entered. The deputy wasn't aware of Garrido's background as a convicted rapist and registered sex offender.
Robinson says he was suspicious of Garrido's mannerisms toward Robinson's daughter and the way he looked at her.
"There was something in my inner gut that said there was something wrong," he said. "It's tough because I told the police. It's like, 'What more should I or could I have done?'"
Little things such as the sturdiness of his daughter's window screen now spook Robinson.
"It hasn't fallen down in a year. We used to find it down from time to time. It's heavy, so it makes you wonder why or how it would come down," Robinson said.
Roger Lund, who lived on Walnut but has since moved about a half-mile away to Wilbur Avenue, said people just don't talk much about it anymore, "unless you hear about it on the news."
"It was like, 'Hey, did you hear the state paid Jaycee $20 million?'" he said.
In fact, most neighborhood residents declined to speak about the events of a year ago, asking to be left alone, just as they did when the first headlines hit.
Curious people still drive by and look at the Garrido house on occasion, said Betty Unpingco, who lives across the street from the house.
Windows boarded up
The Garridos' gray cinder block home is vacant, surrounded by a chain-link fence warning trespassers to stay away. The windows are boarded up, the weeds grow tall in the front and now-deserted backyard, and some paper trash is strewed across the property.
Not much is likely to change, a county building official said.
The county did some code enforcement work a year ago to remove "nonstandard type of structures," trash and debris, county building inspector Jason Crapo said. A lien was placed on the property owners for that work.
The property is still under the name of Patricia Franzen, Garrido's mother, and under the care of Ronald Garrido, his brother, according to county documents. Ronald Garrido, who lives in Brentwood, declined to be interviewed for this story.
The future of the property rests in the hands of the family, Crapo said.
"I suppose it will remain in (its current) condition until the property owner decides to restore it to some use," Crapo said. Any new building would have to comply with local building codes and permits.
Despite the media attention, the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office received only two complaints about trespassing at the home, both in September of last year, spokesman Jimmy Lee said.
Antioch residents and city officials had bristled at media references that the Garrido home was located in their city, and Mayor Jim Davis called a news conference to emphasize that the property was in an unincorporated area.
But in an ironic twist, there are now indications that the area could become part of Antioch.
City leaders are considering bringing the neighborhood within city limits as part of a larger annexation tied to a power plant proposal.
Like many neighbors, Unpingco said she thinks the neighborhood of large lots where people prefer to live off the radar was unfairly "trashed" in news reports.
"I think that people thought just because he was here, there were a lot of reports saying that it was a place full of sex offenders and it looked like trailer trash," she said. "It's a misconception. It's true some people could take better care of their properties, but a lot of people do keep up their properties."
Though she has always closely monitored the whereabouts of her 10 children, Unpingco said she is even more vigilant now watching her kids.
There's more effort to try to know where all the neighborhood kids live, Unpingco said. She regularly checks websites listing where registered sex offenders live. The unincorporated area currently has three, according to the Megan's Law website.
"We still don't entirely know what's in our neighborhood," Unpingco said. "If you see strangers, you watch and see why they're around."
Aug 21 10 10:29 AM
"Jaycee isn't a public figure by her own choice -- nor are her daughters. They should have the opportunity to lead as normal a life as possible without being treated as a curiosity by onlookers and their cameras," said Nancy Seltzer, a Dugard family spokeswoman.
The discovery in August 2009 that Dugard, kidnapped at age 11, was alive, captivated the nation, and catapulted her to celebrity status.
In 1991, Dugard was snatched off the street in broad daylight near her school bus. She was rescued when two campus police officers at the University of California at Berkley noticed her captor, Phillip Garrido, acting suspiciously while handing out religious material with Dugard's daughter and notified authorities.
Since Dugard, now 30, was dramatically reunited with her mother, Terry Probyn, and her half sister Shayna last August, she has tried to restart her life. She has been living in an undisclosed location in northern California with her two girls and has been extremely protective of her and her family's privacy.
Dugard has selectively released candid moments of herself with her family to update the world on her progress. She was on the cover of People magazine in October 2009 and appeared briefly in a home video provided to ABC News in March, which showed a portrait of a healing family -- baking cookies, riding horses and laughing together.
"Hi I'm Jaycee. I want to thank you for your support and I'm doing well," she said in her first public statement since the arrest of her alleged captors. She was seated, dressed in a black shirt and jeans and a pink baseball cap, and feeding two spaniels. "It's been a long haul," she said, "but I'm getting there."
In July, the state of California approved a $20 million payment to Dugard for failing to properly supervise Garrido, a registered sex offender who was on parole. Garrido and his wife Nancy have both been charged with kidnapping and rape and are awaiting trial. They have pleaded not guilty.
Aug 21 10 10:42 AM
Kidnapping suspect Phillip Garrido talks with his attorney, Susan Gellman after a Feb. 26 hearing at the El Dorado County Court in Placerville, Calif. (AP/file)PLACERVILLE, Calif. – The lawyer representing Phillip Garrido, charged with kidnapping Jaycee Dugard in 1991 and holding her captive for 18 years, raised concerns Friday about whether Garrido is competent to stand trial and help with his defense.
After meeting with the attorneys and prosecutors privately before a hearing in El Dorado Superior Court, Judge Douglas Phimister told the courtroom that Garrido’s attorney, Susan Gellman “may be declaring doubt,” meaning she may file a motion questioning Garrido’s mental state. If she does so, Phimister said the court would appoint an expert to examine Garrido to determine his competency status. He set another hearing for Oct. 1 to discuss the next step. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Dugard, 30, and her family released a statement blasting a photo agency’s attempt to profit from photographs taken last weekend of Dugard and her daughters as they vacationed in an unnamed location. Nancy Seltzer said she had received calls from several magazines saying they had been contacted by a photo agency that was trying to sell photos of Dugard and her daughters, as well as a story about their ordeal. “She isn’t a celebrity and neither are her two minor-age girls,” Seltzer said. “They are survivors of violent crimes.”Dugard is not a public figure by choice and they should have the opportunity to lead a normal life “without being treated as a curiosity by onlookers and their cameras,” Seltzer said. “Jaycee Dugard is a person who has been through the unimaginable,” she said. “Her daughters are attempting to enter the world without people pointing fingers. They are not objects to be secretly photographed and sold to publications for profit.” Dugard was 11 years old when she was abducted near her South Lake Tahoe home in 1991. She was found last August after Garrido was questioned by some University of California, Berkeley officers and by his parole officer. Garrido was a sex offender on lifetime supervision for the 1976 kidnapping and rape of a South Lake Tahoe woman. Dugard had two children with Garrido and allegedly had lived for the past 18 years in a hidden backyard compound. Garrido and his wife, Nancy, were arrested and charged with 29 felony counts, including kidnapping and rape. They pleaded not guilty and a preliminary hearing on their case is scheduled for Oct. 7. But that may be postponed if Gellman raises the question of Garrido’s competency. Phimister said that if Garrido undergoes a competency evaluation, one of the sides requested that it be videotaped. But, the judge said, he would not rule on whether that should be done until a competency question is declared. Nancy Garrido’s lawyer, Stephen Tapson, said he has not plans to file a similar motion for his client. “I have no doubt about her as to competency to stand trial,” Tapson said after the hearing. “That’s not an issue for me.”Tapson said Nancy Garrido has been doing well, has been in contact with her family, but misses Dugard and the children.“She wishes she could see them,” Tapson said. Phimister also continued an earlier order allowing the Garridos to hold 5 minute telephone conversations at the jail. He said they will be allowed one in September and another in October. Tapson said the motivation is love. “It’s true love,” he said of the Garridos. “They love each other.”Dugard had two children with Garrido and allegedly had lived for the past 18 years in a hidden backyard compound. Garrido and his wife, Nancy, were arrested and charged with 29 felony counts, including kidnapping and rape. They pleaded not guilty and a preliminary hearing on their case is scheduled for Oct. 7. But that may be postponed if Gellman raises the question of Garrido’s competency. Phimister said that if Garrido undergoes a competency evaluation, one of the sides requested that it be videotaped. But, the judge said, he would not rule on whether that should be done until a competency question is declared. Nancy Garrido’s lawyer, Stephen Tapson, said he has not plans to file a similar motion for his client. “I have no doubt about her as to competency to stand trial,” Tapson said after the hearing. “That’s not an issue for me.”Tapson said Nancy Garrido has been doing well, has been in contact with her family, but misses Dugard and the children.“She wishes she could see them,” Tapson said. Phimister also continued an earlier order allowing the Garridos to hold 5 minute telephone conversations at the jail. He said they will be allowed one in September and another in October. Tapson said the motivation is love. “It’s true love,” he said of the Garridos. “They love each other.”
Aug 21 10 10:46 AM
With the one-year anniversary of Dugard's reappearance after 18 years of captivity coming next week, a judge in El Dorado Superior Court said there still is a question over whether officials will seek a psychological exam of Garrido (photo left) before the case goes forward.
Garrido's attorney, Susan Gellman, did not address the issue in open court during a three-minute hearing this afternoon, but the judge indicated that the matter had come up in a private meeting before court began.
The case is set to go to a preliminary hearing Oct. 7, during which prosecutors will attempt to show that there is enough evidence to move to trial on kidnapping and rape charges against Garrido and his wife, Nancy.
But the possibility of testing Garrido's mental competence could push the matter back much further. It is not the first time that questions have been raised over Garrido's mental state. Gellman has previously filed court papers questioning his mental state.
Nancy Garrido's attorney, Stephen Tapson, said no such issues have been raised about his own client, and he deflected questions about his view of Phillip Garrido's mental state.
"Everybody's nuts," Tapson said.
Aug 22 10 11:13 AM
It's a terse, unmistakable mantra, evoking memories of tragedy and failure in a push by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office to do better.
"Look in the backyard."
Jaycee Dugard's reappearance nearly a year ago and the revelations that followed -- myriad failed chances to discover the hidden backyard compound where registered sex offender and lifetime parolee Phillip Garrido is suspected of having kept Dugard and their two girls -- shone an unforgiving international spotlight on state and local law enforcement.
The emotional and political impact of the case continues to ripple.
Apologies would follow -- one in the form of a $20 million payout approved by the state Legislature -- along with change. Local police call the case a spark for more focused street-level policing. State corrections officials, who oversaw Garrido's parole since 1999, tout an improved system in sex-offender management and enforcement, with better coordination and a host of policy changes to address the kinds of lapses exposed by Dugard's 18-year disappearance.
But whether urgent mantras and a host of parole policy directives signal lasting progress or a misguided knee jerk, or perhaps some of each, remains subject for intense debate, while the state grapples to keep sight of more than 60,000 registered sex offenders.
The pall of failure fell hard on the Sheriff's Office, which patrols the patch of land where Garrido and his wife, Nancy, lived.
Had Garrido lived a few blocks south, it would have fallen on Antioch police to respond to a November 2006 emergency call from a neighbor saying Garrido had a "sexual addiction" and kept young children living in tents in his backyard.
But the cosmic odds chose this virtual island. In the absence of state and federal parole officials explaining their primary roles in monitoring Garrido, Sheriff Warren Rupf took to the podium.
Rupf specifically apologized for a deputy's response -- rather, his lack of one. The deputy had spoken with Garrido in front of the house but never entered. He never checked Garrido's background as a convicted rapist and registered sex offender. Rupf, who is retiring after 18 years in office told a battery of news outlets that his agency had blown its best chance to find her.
"The oversights were relatively minor, but the impact was immense," Rupf said recently in his office. "There were mitigating circumstances, but there are no excuses. It was a failure."
The media horde trumpeted the apology. The Sheriff's Office had paid other visits to the home on Walnut Avenue, during periodic sweeps designed to ensure registered sex offenders were living where they said they were.
At first, corrections officials issued a news release lauding agents for their role in Dugard's discovery. It would be months, after a scathing review by the state Inspector General, before Matthew Cate, the state corrections secretary, apologized for numerous failures to properly classify and monitor Garrido.
"I was not surprised," Rupf said, "but still angry with the lack of response from other government officials." Federal officials, he noted, oversaw Garrido's parole over the years authorities say he kidnapped Dugard and fathered her two girls.
"I'd like to find somebody in federal parole and shake 'em. And tell them how embarrassed I am for them that you're not only willing, but the system allows you to simply stand behind the curtain."
Rupf soon announced that he would not run for a fifth term as sheriff. Murmurs arose that the impact of the Dugard case and his international mea culpa had sapped him.
"If anything, it gave me cause to consider re-election," he said.
Whatever the fallout for the Sheriff's Office, Rupf points to an array of tactics and programs that were either created or accelerated in the wake of his apology.
Among the first, he said, was stripping divisions between what he called "silos of information" where facts and observations gathered by patrol deputies never reached sex crime investigators, and vice versa. Now, a patrol deputy gets alerts on his in-car computer if a registered sex offender lives within a mile of where a police call originates.
"If you have a missing kid, and you see that you have a sex offender two doors down, he might be someone to look at," said sex crimes Detective Kelly Challand.
The Sheriff's Office also fixed a glaring oversight made obvious when millions of computer users instantly logged onto Google Maps for an aerial view showing the illicit compound that had eluded state and local law enforcement.
Now, included along with a registered sex offender's dossier is an aerial view of the property.
"I hear people say that all the time," Challand said. "Deputies didn't know there was another backyard. They didn't know the property lines. A guy on the street sees the fence line and assumes that's the end of the yard."
Cooperation between state parole agents, county probation officers and local police has since become enshrined into quarterly meetings on the 1,485 registered sex offenders in Contra Costa County. There are now agreements with the U.S. Marshals Service to extradite sex offenders who skip the state.
Such plans were already in the works, Challand said, but after August 2009, obstacles quickly dissolved.
In February, during the first county sweep after the Dugard revelation, a litany of agencies lent a hand, including a strong showing by state parole agents, who were mostly absent on many previous sweeps.
Local police have seen a payoff. Last month in Walnut Creek, police found a 14-year-old girl at a local motel room. They investigated and learned that her suspected pimp was a paroled sex offender. Detective Greg Leonard said he called a state parole agent who tracked the suspect by GPS, leading to his quick arrest and pending charges.
"It quite possibly saved this girl's life," he said. "I'm not saying from the parolee, but the lifestyle she was in."
That level of communication, before Dugard's reappearance, went lacking, Leonard said.
"I've talked to people that were involved in the Dugard incident," he said. "There's so much regret and what could have been done differently. It's one of those crimes that hits home. "
Significant shifts in parole policy trailed the political torrent over the Garrido case. More recently, criticism over the supervision of ex-parolee John Gardner -- a sex offender who went on to rape and murder two Southern California girls -- has state lawmakers moving swiftly to harden sentences for many sex crimes and lengthen parole terms -- in some cases to life -- for some offenders, while adding polygraph tests and treatment.
A new statewide task force reviews GPS monitoring. Parole agents have undergone new training, and corrections officials have formed GPS "super units," with parole agents assigned exclusively to sex offenders or gang members strapped with monitoring anklets.
Inspector General David Shaw found that parole agents ignored hundreds of alerts in 2008 from the GPS device strapped to Phillip Garrido's ankle, showing it failed to transmit a signal, that he'd veered far from the 25-mile radius under his parole terms and that he had often stayed out past his midnight curfew.
Parole agents monitor sex offenders deemed "high risk" using "active" GPS, meaning they check their daily electronic tracks. Other sex offenders are monitored less frequently, under "passive GPS."
Before the Garrido case, they could check active GPS tracks days later, and there was no policy dictating how often they checked passive GPS parolees. Now they must check active tracks within a day, and the new policy requires them to check two days of passive GPS, twice monthly.
The new policy, instituted in March, also demands that parole agents analyze the tracks -- dots on a computer screen that indicate intervals of 10 minutes or less -- one by one.
The policy also mandates "collateral contacts" -- speaking with neighbors and other people familiar with a parolee -- something agents failed to do in Garrido's case.
At the parole district office in Fairfield, agents assigned to the GPS unit spurn talk about the Garrido case. They prefer to talk about quiet success stories.
Agent Curtis Murry said he nabbed a sex offender parolee in March who had cut off his electronic ankle bracelet and was leaving on a bus for San Diego. GPS recently helped him catch another parolee who was attending youth Narcotics Anonymous meetings to troll for vulnerable girls, he said.
"The only thing (the public) ever hears about is the cases where something goes bad," said Murry, whose caseload includes 13 active and 14 passive GPS cases in Contra Costa.
On a recent afternoon, Murry found an alert for Richard Miranda, a registered sex offender on parole for auto theft. He had left his sister's house in Martinez at 12:30 that morning for a trip out to Bailey Road in East Contra Costa.
Murry checked Miranda's location -- his father's apartment near the Solano drive-in in Concord -- and drove out with two other agents. They banged on the door, shouted, and then Murry set off a vibration on Miranda's anklet. Still nothing. He checked his laptop GPS in the car.
"He's in there," he mouthed to the other agents. They went in, guns drawn.
Miranda was passed out on a bed. There was porn -- 17 magazines, 7 DVDs -- drug residue, a sex toy and a knife. Miranda admitted using methamphetamine and had violated various parole terms, Murry said. He had set up a form of residence there, with a room and a key. Regardless of whether he slept there at night, the apartment was too close to a park under Jessica's Law.
His sex crime, misdemeanor indecent exposure, came 18 years ago. State corrections is applying Jessica's Law, including a GPS requirement, on all registered sex offenders who are on parole for whatever reasons.
"They're lumping everyone together. I'm not a child molester," said Miranda, 47, handcuffed behind his back. "No one should know where you're at 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nobody."
In some ways the new policies are not enough, in other ways, overkill, said Robert Coombs, chairman of the California Sex Offender Management Board, whose appointed members include corrections and probation officials, prosecutors, victim advocates and treatment experts.
Among other measures, the state is putting in place a kind of score-sheet system for parole violations. In part because of the Garrido and Gardner cases, the state is adding new burdens on overworked parole agents and stripping away their discretion and flexibility -- the time to use their valuable intuition, said Coombs, also spokesman for the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
The idea that agents must analyze each individual "track" for every sex offender is ludicrous, he said.
"Everyone who actually knows the process parole agents go through knows that's a monumental waste of time. That's a response to getting lambasted by the Inspector General and lots of folks in the media," Coombs said.
"We need to recognize the scenario in (the Dugard case) is just so extreme, that really the big failure was we didn't have someone who could imagine the evil he was capable of. The biggest lesson in the Dugard case for me is that law enforcement, parole, all of these different elements need to be working together."
Locally, that may be the most dramatic change -- an attitude shift toward cooperation, spurred in part by worry.
No one wants to be the officer or deputy who failed to find the next Dugard.
"I get calls all night long from deputies on the street who see a sex offender or go to a house," he said. "They want to make sure before leaving the scene that they're getting everything right."
A catchy motto doesn't hurt.
"Look in the backyard," Rupf repeated. "I extend that to virtually everything we do."
Aug 24 10 7:33 PM
When the pretty 29-year-old woman first spoke with Phillip Garrido's parole officer one year ago this week, she identified herself as Alyssa. She said she was the mother of the two young girls who had accompanied Garrido to a university campus the day before.Alyssa said she knew Garrido was a sex offender on parole for kidnapping and raping a woman, but she assured the officers that he "was a changed man and a great person who was good with her kids," according to an official report.
Garrido gave the officers several different stories.
First he said the younger girls were his daughters. Then he reported that they were the children of some friends. In his third version, he said all three girls were sisters and belonged to his brother. After hours of questioning, police said, Garrido finally admitted that the 29-year-old was Jaycee Lee Dugard, allegedly kidnapped by Garrido and his wife, Nancy, near her South Lake Tahoe home in 1991. The two girls, he said, aged 11 and 15, belonged to him.
When Dugard reunited with her mother hours after being identified, Jaycee walked up, hugged her and said: "Hi mom. I have babies."
So began the long process of Jaycee Dugard's reunion with her true family after allegedly being held captive in a hidden compound in Garrido's backyard for 18 years.
News of Dugard's safe return not only shocked her family but also the South Lake Tahoe community, which had held searches and candlelight vigils and had distributed 200,000 fliers when she disappeared.
"What we learned about the conditions she lived in was horrific," said Kathie Garcia, organizer of the Building New Bridges fundraiser in South Lake Tahoe after Dugard was found. "It's hard to believe it went that many years without being caught. But now we're just focusing on the future and looking forward to hearing more good news about Jaycee."
The revelation also led to an intensive investigation into Phillip and Nancy Garrido and the filing of a criminal complaint charging them with 29 felony counts, including kidnapping and rape. They've pleaded not guilty and their preliminary hearing is set for October.
And the fact that Dugard and her daughters allegedly lived with a man who was under federal and then state parole supervision led to an investigation and sharp criticism by the California inspector general's office, and an overhaul of the state's parole and probation system.
It also led to changes in Nevada's parole and probation agency, which used the Garrido case as a training tool for its agents.
An 8-foot-tall fence behind the Garridos' suburban home concealed the yard of sheds, tents and shacks cluttered with boxes, garbage, and old toys where Jaycee and her two daughters were allegedly forced to live during their captivity.
An aerial Google Map view of the yard showed the blue tarps and tents partially hidden by trees and shrubs.
Utility lines ran from the corner of Garrido's house to a shed in the hidden compound, where Garrido kept a computer, television and other electronic devices, according to a report by the California Office of Inspector General.
Additional wires ran along the back fence and into the hidden compound, providing electricity to other structures, the report said.
Although Garrido's parole officer visited the house dozens of times, he never noticed the wires running through and over the fence, and never ventured beyond the yard behind the house, the report said.
A trained officer should have seen the wires and raised suspicions, the report said.
"Utility wires can be an indicator of crimes such as electricity theft, marijuana cultivation or the presence of a computer used for child pornography," the report said. "Because Garrido was a registered sex offender, with extensive drug use in his past, those suspicions would have been merited."
Officials also received reports from neighbors of children on the property. But officials missed those clues, the report said.
Since her rescue, Jaycee Dugard and her two daughters have lived a secluded life in Southern California with her mother and stepsister. Little has been shared about her time with the Garridos: Her only media interview has been with People magazine and only a few recent photos have been made public.
According to court documents, she was kept in one of the backyard buildings for the first 18 months after her abduction, and was restricted to the backyard for the first four years.
Garrido repeatedly raped Dugard in the early years, and she became pregnant the first time when she was 13 years old, El Dorado County, Calif., District Attorney Vern Pierson said in a motion seeking a protective order. Her second pregnancy came when she was 16, he said.
Phillip Garrido's lawyer, Susan Gellman, said they acted like a family.
"They took vacations together; they went to the library together; they ran a family business together," Gellman said in a motion asking for permission for the Garridos to communicate with each other. "The children were home-schooled. They kept pets and had a garden."
Several business owners who bought business cards from Garrido's printing company "Printing For Less," said in interviews that Jaycee Dugard helped with their accounts.
Pierson objected to Gellman's portrayal of their life in the compound. Garrido was a master manipulator, he said, and the children were required to run and hide if anyone came to the door.
Their cover story: They were Garrido's nieces, Pierson said.
Although Dugard interacted with the Garridos, she expressed her frustrations at the living situation in her diary.
"I don't want to hurt him," she wrote in a Sept. 5, 2003 entry. "Sometimes I think my very presence hurts him, so how can I ever tell him how I want to be free. Free to come and go as I please. Free to say I have a family. I will never cause him pain if it's in my power to prevent it. FREE."
And on July 5, 2004, she expressed more inner pain.
"It feels like I'm sinking," Dugard wrote. "I'm afraid I want control of my life... this is supposed to be my life to do with what I like ... but once again he has taken it away."
Aug 28 10 12:01 PM
FOR 18 years she was a prisoner in a makeshift compound of shabby tents in the back yard of a sex beast.
Free and easy ... Jaycee, at rear of canoe, paddles with pal Tranquil ... the family's tents on their holiday campsiteAnd at first glance, a holiday under canvas seems a strange choice for kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard and the two daughters fathered by her wicked captor.
But exactly one year on from the day she was rescued, 30-year-old Jaycee is seen here revelling in the family's camping break by a lake in a peaceful rural setting.
Because this time, staying in a tent represented not misery and confinement, but an opportunity to breathe fresh air, to enjoy life - and to relish FREEDOM.
Jaycee and daughters Starlet, 16, and Angel, 11, were joined by a female friend on the hol in northern California.
The spot was only 60 miles from the house in Antioch where she was kept by paedophile Phillip Garrido, 59, after he snatched her when she was just 11. Relaxed ... she strolls in the sun
But it seemed a world away. And although Jaycee and the girls are still having intensive psychological treatment to help them recover from their ordeal, her smiles were a heart-warming testament to the progress she is making.
A source told The Sun: "It's incredible - she is such a happy young woman.
"She really appreciates the fresh air and open spaces as you would expect from someone who was held captive for so long.
"And Jaycee and her kids have an incredible bond. She is a wonderful mother." Jaycee made friends with others on the campsite, larked around on the lake in a canoe and tried out her new hobby, photography.
The source said: "The last 12 months have been a long road and clearly there's still a long way to go.
"But it's just great so see Jaycee having some fun. She's an amazing woman."
Jaycee and the girls lead a humble life despite being awarded £13million from the state of California to head off a lawsuit over the bungled monitoring of known rapist Garrido.
They live with Jaycee's mum Terry, 51, in a quiet rural corner of California not far from the scene of the holiday.
They rent a four-bedroom house on a tree-lined street - and are fiercely guarded by the locals.
The source said: "They are part of a very small community. The neighbours know who they are and are very protective of them.
"They shop in discount stores all the time. They're not used to spending money. When Jaycee goes out she tries to buy clothes that are on sale. She's not interested in anything flashy."
Terry was absent from the holiday, which represented another significant step for Jaycee.
The source said: "Jaycee has been depending on her mum for a lot of support. The fact that she was able to go away without her is a clear sign she is making good progress."
Jaycee's daughters are being home-schooled to help them catch up on their education.
And along with their mum, part of their treatment involves "equine therapy" - which involves overcoming fear and developing confidence by working with horses.
An expert said: "The size and power of the horse are naturally intimidating to many people.
"Accomplishing a task involving a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides for wonderful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life."
Garrido and his wife Nancy, 55, are awaiting trial on kidnap and rape charges.
Aug 28 10 12:11 PM
Aug 28 10 12:17 PM
PLACERVILLE, CA - One year after Phillip and Nancy Garrido were arrested and charged with the kidnapping and rape of Jaycee Dugard, a veteran prosecutor predicts a trial is still at least two years away.
Bill Portanova, a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's office in Sacramento, said the case is especially complicated because the allegations of criminal conduct span a period of 18 years.
The Garridos' attorneys are reviewing thousands of pages of documents that have been provided by the prosecution and there's more to come.
El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister had scheduled the preliminary hearing to begin Oct. 7, but that date was suddenly thrown into question when Phillip Garrido's attorney indicated she had some doubts about her client's mental ability to assist in his defense.
"Given the current pace, the preliminary hearing may not happen until deep into the year 2011," said Portanova. "The trial may not be for another year or two after that, if it happens at all. It could be two, three, four years away," he said.
In the meantime, the meter's running for El Dorado County taxpayers. Both of the Garridos' attorneys are on the county payroll, as are the prosecutors, investigators and expert witnesses.
Room and board at the El Dorado County jail costs $230 per day for the couple, according to sheriff's Lt. Bryan Golmitz. That adds up to $84,000 in jail costs since the Garridos were arrested.
Golmitz said the county doesn't track other costs related to the Garridos' incarceration, such as extra security during court appearances.
Portanova said a multi-year prosecution could easily cost several million dollars, with local taxpayers responsible for the entire amount.
Philip Carrizosa, a spokesman for the statewide Administrative Office of the Courts, said the state of California will only reimburse smaller counties for extraordinary costs in murder trials.
Portanova said there could be one upside to a drawn-out prosecution.
He said lengthy delays generally favor defendants because memories fade and witnesses become unavailable. That is not true in the case of the Garridos, according to Portanova.
"There's no question that the victims in a case like this will be getting stronger with every passing day. So while delay frequently helps the defense, it does not in this case," he said.
Aug 28 10 12:29 PM
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA - The home just outside Antioch where Jaycee Dugard was discovered years after being kidnapped is boarded up now, surrounded by wire fencing. The dry grass and weeds are so high, a next door neighbor worries about fire danger.
"We called them to come out and see if they would cut the lawn. It's a fire hazard. The weeds are way high," said Helen Boyer.
The Garrido family still has ownership of the home. Contra Costa fire officials said notice has been sent that the yard needs to be taken care of.
Boyer said she never knew the activity next door would be linked to a kidnapping case of long and national interest.
Boyer said she didn't notice anything odd "not at all, the whole 18 years. I would have been the first (to speak) if I'd known anything was going on, to call," said Boyer.
Boyer said she saw children on the property, never guessing they were the children of kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard.
"I thought they were friends of Phil and Nancy (Garrido). They weren't out often," said Boyer.
Though both Garridos are charged with crimes in connection with the disappearance of Dugard, Boyer blames one person more than another.
"I think she (Nancy) was under his thumb. She went around like a robot," said Boyer.
In marked contrast to the firestorm of action immediately following last August's revelation, the street just outside Antioch city limits is once again quiet with little traffic. However, Boyer said occasionally, the Garrido home still attracts the curious.
"People still come and take pictures," she said.
Aug 28 10 12:39 PM
MARTINEZ, CA - Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf shocked people last year when he admitted his department should have located Jaycee Dugard much earlier.
One year after that news conference, Rupf said making that admission was the right thing to do.
"Government is supposed to serve people and if government fails in that service, it's the responsibility of those who govern to stand up and say we made a mistake," said Rupf.
Last year, just two days after the discovery of Jaycee and the arrests of the Garridos, Rupf said a deputy had contact with Garrido about three years earlier, but did a poor job of investigating and failed to realize Dugard might also be at the home.
"We made contact with Garrido in the front yard of his home. The responding deputy determined there was no criminal behavior. Organizationally, we should have been more inquisitive, more curious and turned over a rock or two," Rupf said last year.
Rupf was equally blunt one year later, criticizing other agencies for not doing a better job.
"The federal government, who we've still not heard from, had an overriding responsibility. They failed in that effort. The state parole (department), when (Garrido) was transferred from Nevada to California, failed to properly supervise him," said Rupf.
Rupf also insisted his department is better equipped to handle these situations in the future.
"What we have done is try and change systematically how we do our business. We contact virtually every 290 (sex offender) registrant that lives in our jurisdiction. Now, if one of our officers is dispatched to any address in our jurisdiction, that's within a mile of a 290 registrant, he's alerted to that. This new mindset causes him to look for those rocks that I want turned over," Rupf said.
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