The 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco this week agreed with a district judge that Jaycee Dugard can’t sue the government for failure to properly supervise the parolee who kidnapped her as a child and held her captive for 18 years.
Dugard was just 11 when she was kidnapped in June 1991 from a South Lake Tahoe bus stop. Phillip Garrido kept her in a shed behind his home in Antioch, Calif., for years, raping her repeatedly.
In 2009, Garrido was spotted on the University of California, Berkeley, campus accompanied by two young girls. Because of his criminal history that included a previous rape conviction, his parole officer ordered him to come to his office with the two girls. The girls were accompanied by Dugard who was identified as their mother. She and her two daughters were rescued.
Dugard sued, arguing that had federal parole officers done their job, Garrido would have been back in prison instead of free to kidnap her because of his numerous parole violations.
The appellate court panel ruled the Federal Tort Claims Act doesn’t permit a plaintiff to recover against the federal government for the incompetence of the parole office supervising Garrido.
“Phillip Garrido, a parolee with a terrible history of drug-fueled sexual violence, committed unspeakable crimes against Jaycee Dugard for 18 years,” said the opinion by Judge John Owens. “While our hearts are with Ms. Dugard, the law is not.”
The decision was not unanimous. While Owens and Judge Richard Clifton rejected the district court dismissal of the suit, Judge William Smith said he would rule for her saying the majority were applying the Tort Claims Act incorrectly.
Dugard has already received a $20 million settlement from the state of California.
Garrido and his wife Nancy pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexual assault. He’s serving a sentence of 431 years. She’s serving 36 years to life in prison.