FAIL TO LEARN, DOOMED TO REPEAT — LESSONS FROM THE JAYCEE DUGARD CASE

Jaycee Dugard

Winston Churchill stated, “Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

Last month the 9th Circuit, in a 2–1 decision, ruled that Jaycee Dugard is barred from suing the Federal Government for their negligence in the supervision of her abductor, Phillip Garrido. You may recall that Jaycee settled with the State of California for the negligent supervision of Garrido after the State took over from the Federal Government.

While it is difficult to appreciate the intricacies of the controlling federal law that led to the recent opinion, my office is uniquely in a position to fully comprehend the abysmal supervision given to Phillip Garrido. Some of the news reports regarding the recent court ruling seem to fail to appreciate everything that was known about Garrido prior to his early release, during his subsequent supervision and during Jaycee’s imprisonment. For that reason, I think it’s important to revisit some of the details of this case. To view a copy of our findings please click HERE

Garrido should not have been released after only 11 years of a 50-year sentence. At the time of Garrido’s inexplicable early release, his reliable known criminal history included: The kidnapping and rape of a 14 year old girl in Antioch, the kidnap and rape of a 19 year old woman in South Lake Tahoe in June of 1976, the attempted kidnapping and rape of a 25 year old woman in November of 1976 — only one hour prior to his kidnapping and rape of Katie Callaway for which he received his 50 year sentence — and his admission in 1976 to abducting two other women. It’s hard not to look at many of today’s early releases and not consider the possible ramifications in light of the grave consequences of releasing Garrido early.

On the date of Jaycee’s abduction on June 10, 1991, Phillip Garrido was on Federal Parole Supervision and had already kidnapped and raped 3 identified victims, and attempted to kidnap and rape another. Jaycee was the 5th known victim and the 4th in the South Lake Tahoe area. GARRIDO MAP

When Garrido received his release in 1988, he was assigned to a halfway house. In November of 1988, he was given limited, additional freedom. Within a few days, Garrido made contact with his prior victim, Katie Callaway, in a Tahoe casino where she worked. Katie immediately reported the incident to his Federal Parole Agents. Despite the fact Garrido traveled from the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe and made contact with the victim who had testified in the trial that resulted in his 50 year sentence, the Federal Parole Agent concluded that “to subject (Garrido) to electronic monitoring would be too much of a hassle based on the hysteria, or concerns of the victim…” Ironically, that note was written on the very same day and only 20 miles away from where Michaela Garecht was abducted by a man matching Garrido’s description.

During the time of Garrido’s Federal Parole Supervision, the below videos provide a small example of what he was up to.

As we look back on the mistakes made with Phillip Garrido, we should heed Winston Churchill’s advice and learn from these errors so that history does not repeat itself.

Let’s face it, Garrido was released early in 1988 due to increasing “soft on crime” policies in the 70’s and 80’s. These policies resulted in higher crime. The public responded with the “Three Strikes”law, which held repeat violent or serious felons accountable by doubling, tripling, or providing a life sentence and the “One Strike” sex crimes law, which significantly increased sentences for sex crimes.

Crime in California declined under these new laws. Violent crime and property crimes all saw a downward trend from 1994 to 2010.

However, in last four years, sentencing laws in California have drastically changed:

  • In 2012 the voters passed Proposition 36 which modified the “Three Strikes” law and allowed for the release of prisoners who had prior violent or serious felony priors.
  • In 2013, AB 109 “Realignment” was passed and shifted responsibility and housing for many prisoners from the state prison to county jail.
  • In 2014, Proposition 47 reclassified most property crimes, and many drug crimes, as misdemeanors rather than felonies. Proposition 47 eliminated automatic felony prosecution for stealing a gun and reduced the penalty for possession of drugs used to facilitate date-rape to a simple misdemeanor.

Recent FBI data for the largest 25 cities in the U.S. for the first 6 months of 2015 show Sacramento No. 1 in the country for large city increased violent crime rates (+76%) and No. 5 in the country for property crime rates (+85%). In fact, 6 out of the top 9 cities in the country for increased property crimes are all in California. San Francisco just became the No. 1 in FBI crime statistics for the highest increase in property crime rates in the U.S.

Once again the pendulum has swung. Crime is on the rise because we didn’t learn the lessons of the 70’s and 80’s. Releasing criminals might make some people feel good, but it does not make us safe.