Maines may be on his way back as Garrido attorney
Tribune News Service
PLACERVILLE, Calif. – There was a small victory this week for the local attorney who wants to continue to represent Nancy Garrido, the woman accused, along with her husband Phillip, of abducting Jaycee Lee Dugard 19 years ago.
An appeal court ruled that Gilbert Maines is still on the case – although the issue hasn’t completely resolved yet.
Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister, who originally took Maines off the case, must now decide if he will present new evidence that Maines has a conflict of interest.
Maines was accused of talking about the case publicly, including over drinks at a Placerville country club. He has denied those allegations.
For the moment, Placerville lawyer Steve Tapson is Nancy’s court-appointed interim attorney.
“It’s still in limbo,” Tapson told the Democrat on Thursday. “Judge Phimister can attempt to reopen the case, and provide the (appeals) court with new information. Or he can say forget it, and let Maines stay on as the attorney.”
Nancy has said she would be happy with Maines as her attorney, Tapson added.
The Third District Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday that Judge Phimister erred in relieving Maines as counsel, saying in its order, “the evidence … does not support (the finding) that the statements made by Maines revealed confidential information.”
The appeal court order went on to say, “In reaching this preliminary conclusion, we mean no criticism of the trial judge in this case, who has labored to address serious allegations leveled against attorney Maines.”
Phimister must now let the appeals court know by Dec. 24 if he agrees to return Maines to the case. Otherwise he must present new arguments to the appeals court by Jan. 5.
In a court hearing last week, Phimister said he had received new information from the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office. That information was sealed, and cannot be read by the media or the public.
DA Vern Pierson said he could not comment on the information.
Maines and Judge Phimister did not respond to the Mountain Democrat’s request for comment on this story.
Phillip, 58, and his wife Nancy Garrido, 54, face 28 felony charges, including kidnapping for sexual purposes, rape, forcible abduction and false imprisonment by violence. They face multiple life sentences if convicted.
Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The case attracted worldwide media coverage when Dugard was found alive in August, after being missing for 18 years. She had been abducted from South Lake Tahoe in 1991.
Dugard was reportedly raised in a hidden backyard compound on the Garridos’ property in Antioch. Phillip Garrido fathered two children with her, authorities said.
Authorities caught on after Phillip brought the two children, girls ages 11 and 15, to the University of California, Berkeley, campus, according to news reports.
Phillip went to the campus to ask about holding an event for a religious group called “God’s Desire,” reports state.
UC officers found Garrido had been convicted of kidnapping and rape in the 1970s, and informed his parole officer that Garrido had young children with him.
The following day, Aug. 26, Garrido went to see his parole officer, and brought with him the two girls, his wife Nancy, and a woman he called Allissa. The parole officer had never seen the two young girls or Allissa during home visits, and began to investigate.
An interrogation revealed that Allissa was Jaycee Dugard.
The Garridos are currently being held in the El Dorado County Jail.
Both are due back in court on Jan. 21.
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