El Dorado County judge rules Garridos can talk to each other

By: Penne Usher Gold Country News Service
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PLACERVILLE — An El Dorado County Superior Court judge ruled Friday to allow Nancy and Phillip Garrido to communicate with each other — but only through two five-minute phone calls. Nancy Garrido and her husband Phillip Garrido stand accused of kidnapping, raping and holding Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years. The couple was in a Placerville courtroom Friday for further pre-preliminary hearing proceedings. Judge Doug Phimister ruled on a visitation request filed on behalf of Phillip Garrido. After much consideration Phimister denied Phillip Garrido’s request to contact his wife, however he left the ultimate decision up to Nancy Garrido. “If Nancy Garrido chooses to authorize (it), I will allow two telephone calls — five minutes in duration, one between now and March 20 and the second between March 20 and April 20,” he said. Phimister said he was leaving it to Nancy Garrido’s discretion based on her presumed ability to protect herself from her husband. The judge went on to appoint an attorney for each of Dugard’s daughters, both of whom were fathered by Phillip Garrido. Dugard, missing since 1991, had spent the last 18 years in a ramshackle tent city in the backyard of the Garridos’ Antioch home. Dugard was kidnapped at a bus stop near her home in South Lake Tahoe on June 10, 1991, and wasn’t found until her alleged captors brought her and two children into a police station in Concord, according to authorities. She has yet to make a public appearance since reuniting with her family. Nancy and Phillip Garrido have pleaded not guilty to 29 felony counts of kidnapping, rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment. Phimister’s appointment of attorneys for Dugard’s two teenage daughters was met with opposition from District Attorney Vern Pierson, who repeatedly questioned why the judge felt it was necessary for the teens to have representation. Phimister said he felt that teenage girls’ opinions often differ from that of their parents — or mother in this case — when it comes to “lipstick, clothing, dating — things of importance.” He said he felt it was in the teens’ best interest to have voice in the courtroom. Pierson’s opposition seemed to center around the defense motion to obtain the address and telephone number of the victim and her family. “My concern is there has been a motion to provide a location of (Jaycee) and she has requested that we not provide that information,” Pierson said. That information will be turned over to the two attorneys. Abigal Roseman will represent Dugard’s younger daughter and Roger Runkle will represent the eldest daughter. The Garridos are scheduled to return to El Dorado County Superior Court April 15 for further proceedings. Penne Usher can be reached at