Jaycee Dugard May Sue California Department of Correction

Nancy and Phillip Garrido head to court, Dugard files claim against California

February 12, 2010, 7:42 AM

Feb. 26, 2010— -- Jaycee Dugard has filed documents suggesting she may sue the state of California claiming that state "lapses" allowed convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy to kidnap her as a child and hold her prisoner for 18 years.

Dugardfiled her notice of claim against the California Department of Correction. Her mother Terry Probyn and two minor children she bore to Garrido during her captivity have filed similar claims.

Dugard's lawsuit, according to The Associated Press, does not specify the amount of damages being sought except to say that it is in excess of $25,000.

Dugard's spokeswoman, Nancy Seltzer, told the AP that the family members haven't decided whether they'll file a lawsuit.

"We are simply preserving Jaycee Dugard's right to file a lawsuit at a later date, if that is something she decides is in her family's best interest," Seltzer said

Dugard was kidnapped in 1991 at age 11, and held captive in a warren of shacks and tents in Garrido's back yard for nearly two decades.

As a registered sex offender with a violent history, Garrido was not allowed to be around children, but corrections department officials who were responsible by keeping tabs on Garrido never noticed Dugard's presence and later never questioned the presence of two young girls at Garrido's house.

The claims became public on the same day that Phillip and Nancy Garrido were scheduled to appear in court for a judge to consider two motions prosecutors have slammed as outlandish.

The couple has requested to meet with each other in jail to discuss "family" issues and Phillip Garrido's attorney has filed a motion to force prosecutors into revealing the secret location where Dugard and her daughters have been living since their rescue last August.

Garridos' "Family" Requests Slammed by Prosecutors

Prosecutors have slammed both requests. The request of the Garridos for a jailhouse meeting was quickly pounced on by El Dorado County Sheriff Fred Kollar.

"The psuedo-family the Garridos want to discuss was created by the kidnap, false imprisonment and multiple rapes of a young girl, producing two children," the sheriff state in court documents opposing the Garridos' request.

"While it may be argued that a restoration of family values would improve the quality of American life in general, the assertion of family rights in a case where the 'family' was the produce of 29 alleged felonies is astonishing," the sheriff continued.

In the conclusion to the papers filed on behalf of the sheriff, Kollar states that "Garridos' invocation of the sanctity of 'family' is breathtaking in its audacity."

Among the concerns outlined in the sheriff's rebuttal are the discussion of escape plans, creation of phony testimony and plans by one inmate to coerce or control the other.

"The essence of being in jail is that you don't get to visit whoever you please, under the conditions you might prefer," the sheriff's motion read.

Prosecutors and the defense have been tight-lipped about the case as it inches forward in the courts, but a series of filings and tactics have made public a complicatedlegal tug-of-war.

Earlier this month, prosecutors released portions of a diary Dugard kept during the 18 years she was allegedly imprisoned in the Garridos' backyard in hopes of persuading the judge to keep Dugard's current location a secret in the face of Phillip Garrido's attempts to find her from jail.

The words were heartbreaking. Six years before Dugard was freed from the backyard prison, she wrote, "How can I ever tell him I want to be free. Free to come and go as I please ... free to say I have a family."

Jaycee Dugard's Plea to Be Free

"It feels like I'm sinking. ... This is supposed to be my life to do with what I like ... but once again he has taken it away," Dugard wrote in another entry, dated July 5, 2004. "How many times is he allowed to take it away from me? I am afraid he doesn't see how the things he says makes me a prisoner."

The district attorney has asked for a court order preventing the Garridos from having contact with her or her family.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events