Release Date: January 7, 2011
PLACERVILLE, California – The judge in the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping case cut off telephone contact between Phillip and Nancy Garrido on Thursday after sheriff officials said they appeared to be using their conversations to prepare for their testimony.
Ed Knapp, an attorney with the El Dorado County Council Office, told Judge Douglass Phimister that the Sheriff’s Department objected to the judge’s ruling in May allowing the Garridos a 5-minute phone call each month because that they feared they could use this time to coordinate their stories.
“Our fears have been confirmed,” Knapp told the judge.
Knapp declined to disclose the exact statements made between the two co-defendants who raised their concerns, and declined to say whether one was trying to influence the other. But after the hearing, he said communication to the prison between the co-defendants is “very problematic” as they could use these conversations to “conform their testimony in order to create false testimony”. (Editor’s note: The use of the word “problematic” is in the context of a direct quote from Mr. Knapp.)
“It seems that some of our fears have come true,” he said.
Phillip Garrido’s lawyer, Susan Gellman, filed a petition in February asking that he be allowed to visit his wife in prison so that they can “prepare their case” and make decisions “that will have a significant impact. on people they have known and treated as family for the past 11 years. “
“While the underlying accusations are serious, disturbing and sad, there is no doubt that Mr. and Mrs. Garrido acted as parents of two children and raised them for many years and that the decisions they take regarding their course of action in this matter will affect these children for many years to come, ”Gellman said in his motion.
The sheriff’s and district attorney’s office opposed the request, but Phimister compromised by allowing monthly 5-minute phone calls.
On Thursday, at the request of the sheriff’s office, Phimister suspended monthly phone calls and asked Knapp to file a petition detailing the issues. The judge said he would decide later if he would end all appeals in the future.
Phimister also said he was still working on a request from the Reno Gazette-Journal and five other media outlets to unseal a list of documents in the case, including a transcript of a grand jury hearing in which Dugard testified.
Phimister has set a February 3 hearing to deal with this issue and a list of others to be resolved ahead of the February 28 trial on whether Phillip Garrido is qualified to stand trial.
For much of Thursday’s hearing, Phimister slammed the lawyers in the case, particularly the El Dorado District Attorney’s Office, for asking them to receive a copy of a videotape of an interview. between Garrido and a court-appointed physiatrist to assess his competence and see if he was pretending.
District Attorney Vern Pierson filed a motion last week asking the judge to allow prosecutors to review a taped interview psychiatrist David Glassmire had with Garrido to help him prepare a jurisdictional report.
Pierson said he needed duct tape to prepare for the proficiency test.
To date, Garrido has been evaluated by three psychiatrists: one for the defense and another psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Shaffer. Phimister said he hired Glassmire to break the tie if the other two had opposing views.
Phimister told Pierson he could hire his own mental health expert if he wanted, and said he didn’t want to release the taped interview until Glassmire reviewed the material and completed his report. . The judge promised both parties that the recording and transcript would be released in mid-January – enough time, he said, to prepare for the February trial.
Gellman, Phillip Garrido’s lawyer, said she has not yet decided whether she will file a motion to move the jurisdictional trial to another location. On Thursday, Pierson filed a motion opposing such a decision.
The Garridos were arrested in August 2009 and charged with kidnapping Dugard, 11 at the time, in 1991 in South Lake Tahoe and holding her captive in a hidden yard at their home in Antioch, Calif. . Phillip Garrido is also charged with sexual assault; he fathered Dugard’s two children.