September 26, 2010

Garrido to undergo competency evaluation

The attorney for Phillip Garrido, the man who gained worldwide infamy last year in the alleged abduction of Jaycee Dugard, has raised a doubt as to whether Garrido is competent to stand trial.

"This is a fundamental fairness issue," his attorney, Susan Gellman, a deputy public defender in El Dorado County, told a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. "What we're talking about here is whether or not a citizen is able to make a decision about his case. When someone wants to go to trial for crazy reasons, or not go to trial for crazy reasons, that person is not competent." She noted persistent trouble communicating with Garrido during her more than 20 meetings with him at the jail.

As I explained in my analysis of the case in the Guardian of UK last August, psychiatric issues -- including competency and perhaps insanity -- are sure to be prominent in this case due to Garrido's history of religious delusions. Through the wonders of the Internet, I wrote at the time, we can "travel back in time and enter his mind, via rambling blog posts about voices in his head, mind control, and religious delusions of himself as the savior." (Amazingly, his contemporaneous "Voices Revealed" blog is still online, for those of you who want to take a gander.)

At Friday's court hearing in El Dorado County, Judge Douglas Phimister commented that he had spotted strange behavior during his limited observations of the defendant in court. At times, he noted, "Garrido aggressively scribbled notes in a pad even though little was going on in court."

Demian Bulwa's San Francisco Chronicle account is HERE. My August 2009 analysis in the Guardian of UK, "Jaycee Dugard, transfixed by a monster," is HERE. My Sept. 3, 2009 followup post on the case, "Sex-Registry Flaws Stand Out," has more background and links.
Photo credit: Rich Pedroncelli, AP