Sacto 9-1-1
August 2, 2011
Failures in Garrido case blasted in new report

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

In a blistering assessment of how badly officials bungled their oversight of rapist-kidnapper Phillip Garrido, El Dorado County prosecutors have compiled a list of dozens of instances for which his parole should have been revoked, many of them that would have saved Jaycee Lee Dugard from being abducted.

The 162-page report from El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson's office includes numerous federal and state documents that have previously surfaced since Dugard was rescued from 18 years of captivity in August 2009.

But it includes striking new details of Garrido's parole violations that should have - but did not - return him to prison, including:

• Efforts he made while working at a nursing home to get co-workers to help him buy drugs.

• Positive tests for drugs such as methamphetamine.

• Submitting watered down urine samples during drug testing.

• And wearing a fake penis and using warm Mountain Dew to fool one drug counselor during testing.

The unsparing report lashes out at parole agents who failed for 18 years to detect Dugard, who was abducted as an 11-year-old girl and held until she was 29. The report labels one federal parole agent "utterly incompetent," and blasts a litany of failures to rescue Dugard.

It provides new evidence of other Garrido crimes, including 10 to 20 instances in which young girls were lured into the back of a van while his wife, Nancy, videotaped the children stretching and bending over to later provide her husband with sexually gratifying images.

And it explores details of Garrido's visit to one of his earlier victims, Katie Callaway-Hall, after he was released from a 50-year sentence for raping and kidnapping her in 1976.

"It is beyond dispute that the criminal justice system failed Jaycee Lee Dugard, it failed Katie Callaway-Hall, and assuredly failed many of the other countless unknown victims of Phillip Garrido," the report concludes.

Pierson said in an interview this morning that he hopes the report will lead to changes in the law that will improve decisions by parole boards when they decide whether to release an inmate.

Pierson is holding a public meeting on the matter Wednesday at the state Capitol with state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville. The hearing, from 10 to noon in Room 4203, will include discussion of a 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that Pierson says makes it too easy for dangerous felons to win release. That court case established that "release on parole is the rule, rather than the exception," his report states.

Pierson said he and Gaines hope to win approval of legislation that will allow parole boards to give as much weight to an inmate's original crime as to psychiatric reports that purport to show the criminal no longer poses a threat to society.

He added that Garrido is the perfect example of how some inmates fool doctors and, eventually, parole boards into believing they are reformed.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to say somebody who is institutionalized is going to behave differently in an institutional setting than on the street," he added.

Both Garridos pleaded guilty in April to kidnapping Dugard. Phillip Garrido is serving a 431-years to life sentence and will never win release. His wife was sentenced to 36-years to life and has only a slim chance of ever walking free again.

The Pierson report lists the top five failings his office identified as they prepared for a trial that was avoided when the Garridos agreed to plead guilty after two years of legal wrangling. They are:

1) Federal authorities allowing Garrido's release after 11 years of a 50-year sentence.

2) The inexplicable failure to look at Garrido as a suspect in the 1991 Dugard kidnap. By then, he was known to authorities as a serial kidnapper-rapist who had victims in the South Lake Tahoe area from which Dugard was taken.

3) The failure of parole agents supervising Garrido to detect Dugard in his Antioch backyard and home.

4) The lack of supervision by federal parole agents starting May 15, 1991, when an agent noted the presence of a soundproof recording studio in the Garrido backyard. Three weeks later Dugard was abducted and kept inside, where she was assaulted by Garrido. For the next four years, a parole agent visited the home only one brief time, the report says.

5) Failure of federal parole agents to investigate Calloway-Hall's complaint in 1988 that Garrido approached her at a casino where she worked. He had just been released from prison, and parole agents' failure to take her report seriously was a "colossal blunder," the report found.

The report, along with a link to a video of Nancy Garrido videotaping a child, is available here: http://bit.ly/nyDZoi

PDF: Findings: Jaycee Lee Dugard case

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