Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Monster's Wife, Culpable?

by Contributors to Women in Crime Ink

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.


FleaStiff said...

We often have views that either absolve females completely of criminal responsibility or that partially diminish their punishment.

A Japanese woman who strode into Santa Monica Bay with her two infants was allowed to return to Japan since taking her children with her on her suicide attempt was within her culture.

A teenage girl coming home from her first night of employment outside her Midwestern home was held down by her mother as the father stabbed her to death. The mother was soon released from prison because of her Arab culture of belief in honor killings.

A Canadian prosecutor made a deal with a female serial killer so as to obtain a conviction against her husband but later found out that the female was the primary actor and manipulator.

So what stance should we take in this case? Behavior right from the start well prior to any sort of loss of will shows her desires. She was clearly able to summon the police during hubby's frequent periods of absence. Its clear there were two knowng and willing participants and while we assume he was the "most willing" that has not been shown and really is not all that relevant. Perhaps she was a somewhat secondary participant but it was surely a close-second situation. Full culpability and full punishment, even if she does put some weird high-heeled shoes before the jury and claim to have been manipulated and humiliated until she was lacking in any ability to disobey him.

FleaStiff said...

Consider the Titanic. The Captain said Women and Children first. The officer on the starboard side interpreted this to mean women and children into the lifeboats but with sufficient males at the oars and ofcourse with a male at the tiller to be in command of the lifeboat. The officer on the port side of the Titanic interpreted the phrase literally and put only women and children in the lifeboats. Neither officer was condemned for his culturally mediated interpretations. We generally allow females to be lightly charged and fairly lightly punished. Are these outmoded customs? Probably. Victorian England imposed upon a male the requirement that he support his illegitimate children because females were usually ignorant of their bodies and were, unlike males, incapable of controlling themselves. These outmoded views would never color our thinking today but they would indeed influence our actions. Our courts impose such obligations even if the woman knowingly engaged in a one-night-stand in the hopes of getting pregnant by a man she recognized to be a high-income sports figure. So character should not really be a factor in determining guilt of the accused nurses-aide. She gets punished for what she did as an individual, not for what she did as a female.

Cheryl said...

18 Years and she did nothing? I believe she deserves the same punishment as he does.

Anonymous said...

I want to know what she did to get charged with MORE sexual abuse counts than her husband was.

Granted, she was probably brainwashed too. When she met him she was doing Jehovah's Witness stuff at the prison, not doing the hug a thug thing. And he believes he is God. I do think she was sucked in, but is still responsible for her actions.

Leah said...

She kept Jaycee for 5 months while he was in jail?? She is just as guilty and sick as he is!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully - with the whole world watching they'll make each one pay for their crimes.

It would also be nice if the State of CA does an internal investigation on how Garrido fell through the cracks.

There's more to this story.

California Girl said...

Sorry Stiff Flea - we are not talking about some anomalous situation. Whether this woman was a battered wife or not, she knew of her husbands past. She knew what was going on in her home. She knew kidnapping was wrong. She knew rape was wrong. She knew child molestation was wrong.
They need to hang both of them.

Anonymous said...

Unless they killed someone (I know they are looking at him for a bunch of prostitute murders in the area), they are not eligible for the Death Penalty.

Neither is Alyssa Bustamante whom I am sure we will be hearing about on this blog shortly.