Police have charged Nancy Garrido along with her husband, Phillip, for abducting and imprisoning Jaycee Dugard for the past 18 years. Both are charged with 29 counts each, ranging from kidnapping to rape. Dugard's stepfather has identified Nancy, a nursing assistant believed to have assisted in the delivery of Dugard's two children, as the woman who snatched his stepdaughter off the street, and police say Nancy (left) was home with the then 11-year-old for five months while her husband cooled his heels in jail on a parole violation. Meanwhile, her attorney maintains Nancy's innocence, saying she too was her husband's victim, kept under Garrido's control.
The question for WCI bloggers: If it turns out that Nancy Garrido is involved in this heinous crime, and if it turns out that she's been a victim of prolonged domestic violence, how much weight should this be given, and should it impact guilt/innocence or sentencing?
Pat Brown: Nancy Garrido deserves to accept full responsibility for her actions. Why? Because she wasn't an innocent girl like Jaycee who might have been snared by an older Phillip Garrido and brainwashed. She was a full grown adult who met Garrido when he was already in prison and she knew he was in prison for kidnapping and rape. She chose to partner with him, and she chose to participate in his criminal activities. She is as guilty as he is for what happened to Jaycee Dugard (left) and her children. I say a life sentence without parole is fully appropriate for Nancy Garrido.
Andrea Campbell: In my opinion, if Nancy Garrido was free to come and go, yet still aided in perpetuating the kidnapping and crime against Jaycee Dugard, and then allowed it to continue with the imprisonment of the children, she should be charged as a co-conspirator. At the very least, it is criminal aiding and abetting.
Kathryn Casey: It appears that Nancy Garrido had every opportunity to turn her husband in and end the nightmare for Jaycee and her family. If that’s true, it’s fitting that she’s held responsible right along with the monster she chose as her husband. What woman marries a man in prison for kidnap and rape, allegedly assists in a kidnapping once he's released, and then sits back and does nothing while he imprisons and violates a child? Should abuse by Garrido against Nancy come in at all? Sure, in sentencing. If Nancy has been victimized by her husband, the jury or judge who hands down the sentence should be able to fully assess the entire picture.
Diane Fanning: Nancy Garrido should be judged solely by her actions in the guilt/innocence phase of the trial. If the state proves--as I believe they will--that she aided and abetted in the crimes committed against Jaycee Dugard and in keeping her captivity a secret for all these years. Then, she should be found guilty of all of that. If there was on-going long-term, verifiable domestic violence perpetrated on Nancy, that should be considered as a mitigating circumstance only during the sentencing phase and weighed against the actions she took or did not take regarding Jaycee.
Susan Murphy-Milano: Nancy Garrido is a full-fledged accomplice and co-conspirator, who in my opinion willingly participated in the crimes against a helpless child. Garrido should receive no mercy and have her lawyer strike from the court record the untruths told about her being a battered woman.
Jaycee Dugard was locked away like a caged animal from the outside world behind a series of fences, sheds and tents in the back of a suburban home. She was brainwashed and raped for years and gave birth to two children, the first when Jaycee was about 14. Those children, both girls now 11 and 15, also were kept hidden away in the caged compound.
I am reminded of Michelle Lyn Michaud, also of Sacramento, sentenced to death for her role in the 1997 kidnap, rape and murder of a 22-year-old student. During the trial, defense attorneys also tried to portray Michaud as a battered woman who would do anything to please her boyfriend, James Daveggio, who also was sentenced to death.
Nancy Garrido is a predator, and the battered-women’s theory is a way to mask and not take responsibility for her heinous crimes.
Katherine Scardino: Nancy Garrido should be judged solely on her own actions - if it is proven that she herself committed a direct criminal act - such as kidnapping, assault or some other direct act against another individual, or an act that is a crime by omission - meaning that she should have taken some reasonable action to prevent a criminal act - such as injury to a child by omission - she will be tried for her own crimes.
If her crime is an act by omission, then it is possible that she'd been so brainwashed or assaulted by this man that she could not take any preventative measures to protect or save Ms. Dugard. That may come in during the guilt phase of the trial - but generally, as Diane said, that information would only be admissible during the sentencing phase of a trial as possible mitigating evidence, just like information about a person's background - i.e., child abuse, sexual assault, beatings, etc. The jury can hear and consider this evidence when deliberating her punishment. The jury can give whatever weight they feel is appropriate to this type of information.
Cathy Scott: If Nancy Garrido was involved in the kidnapping and imprisonment of Jaycee Dugard, then, yes, she should pay. But I do believe some consideration -- even compassion -- should be afforded her if it turns out that she too was a victim of Philip Garrido (above right). The control from such a twisted and sociopathic mind reaches beyond prison bars, which may partly explain Garrido's failure to report her husband once he was jailed.