The lack of information-sharing between federal and California divisions supervising sex offenders is allowing sex offenders to violate their probation, the Orange County Register reports.
Steven Gordon, who was charged along with his friend Franc Cano with raping and murdering four women, violated his federal probation by visiting Cano numerous times, even though both were wearing GPS tracking devices. The two men were being tracked by different agencies; Gordon by federal probation officers and Cano by state parole officers.
The reason Gordon was under federal probation and not under the state’s control was that he did not register as a sex offender after crossing state lines.
According to the Register, “Experts say law enforcement agencies have a poor track record of sharing GPS data for proactive purposes. They work well together when it comes to investigating crimes – combining data to exonerate or indict a suspect–but not when it comes to detecting them.”
Susan Turner, a UC Irvine professor who had studied California’s GPS monitoring in 2010, commented, “That was exactly the problem. They had talked about data sharing but they couldn’t do it.”
Gordon and Cano removed their GPS bracelets in 2012 and traveled to Las Vegas, where they were apprehended and arrested them for violating parole and failing to register as sex offenders. After being released from jail in January 2013, Gordon was on state parole and federal probation.
The four murdered women’s relatives were appalled when they heard that Gordon had been visiting Cano. Kathy Menzies, mother of Kianna Rae Jackson, told the Register, “I would like to take whoever was in charge of their supervision to court and slap it to them. Somebody obviously wasn’t doing their job.”
Chief Judge James Ware, who supervised federal probation in the San Francisco region, published a confidential report about the case because he was so outraged. In defense of his publishing the report, Ware wrote, “Had Mr. Garrido’s federal supervision been conducted properly from the onset, it is possible that he may have been deterred from some of the acts now attributed to him. We are using its candid criticism and the public scrutiny that comes from it as tools to improve the administration of justice in our District.”