Court: Jaycee Dugard Can't Sue Feds Over Parole Officers' Blunders

'While our hearts are with Ms. Dugard, the law is not'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2016 8:50 AM CDT
In this Tuesday, May 7, 2013 photo, Jaycee Dugard and her mother, Terry Probyn, appear with their Hope Award at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's annual Hope Awards in Washington.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
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(Newser) Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped as an 11-year-old and held captive for 18 horrifying years by a man who was supposed to be supervised by parole officials because of a conviction for another kidnapping. A federal court, however, has ruled that no matter how badly parole officers may have bungled their supervision of Phillip Garrido, Dugard isn't allowed to sue the federal government, reports Reuters. "While our hearts are with Ms. Dugard, the law is not," Judge John Owens wrote after a three-member panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 2-1 against Dugard, who was appealing an earlier ruling.

"Phillip Garrido, a parolee with a terrible history of drug-fueled sexual violence, committed unspeakable crimes against Jaycee Dugard for 18 years," Owens wrote. "State and federal authorities missed many opportunities to stop these tragic events." The court noted that a federal parole officer failed to report no fewer 70 drug-related parole violations, despite being aware that Garrido was known to become sexually violent while on drugs, the Los Angeles Times reports. But because courts have limited the liability of the federal government for incompetent parole officers, Dugard still can't sue, the court ruled. In 2010, California settled with Dugard for $20 million. (Parole officers once actually spoke to Dugard while she was still a captive at Garrido's California home.)

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