Saturday, August 29, 2009

Garrido, Parole, and the Criminological Fallacy

Police and parole authorities in Northern California are wracked with guilt and self doubt today as they struggle to understand and explain how a registered sex offender who had been on continuous federal and then state parole for decades could have kept a girl he kidnapped in 1991, and later the two daughters she bore him in captivity, undiscovered for 18 years. The horrifying saga began when eleven year old Jaycee Dugard was dragged into a car from a Lake Tahoe school bus stop in 1991 (as her stepfather watched helplessly from their hill top home a block away). Garrido apparently brought her to his Antioch, California house, where he kept her, secreted in a walled off section of his heavily treed backyard in the semi-rural neighborhood 25 miles or so from San Francisco (an area recently known for methamphetamine and foreclosures). As Maria L. LaGanga and My-Thuan Tran report in the LA Times, the Gothic horror of the story is giving way to anguished search for an answer as to how such a monstrous plot could be carried out by someone under the surveillance of multiple law enforcement agencies. The oversight is especially embarrassing to the state's parole service which had full powers to search without a warrant, and was charged with visiting Garrido at least twice monthly in his home. How could they have missed this?

[Read the rest of this post at Prawfsblawg]

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