'She Simply Has Everyone Flummoxed': Ex-Ramsey Co. Attorney on 'Jane Doe'
On MPR, Susan Gaertner praised Anoka County's 'measured approach' to Tammy Thomas' refusal to cooperate since her arrest in a vacant Fridley house.
Anoka County officials are striking the right balance with "Jane Doe," the woman who has refused to cooperate with jailers and judges since Fridley police arrested her July 9 for setting up housekeeping in a vacant Fridley house.
That's according to former Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, in an interview on Minnesota Public Radio late Friday afternoon about the case of the woman now known as Tammy Thomas.
The court is doing "a really good job taking a measured approach" that respects the defendant's Constitutional rights, Gaertner told MPR.
But with a judge again ordering a psychological examination after Thomas refused to cooperate, "The problem is: Now what?'" Gaertner said.
Here is a transcript of the MPR interview with former Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, which aired during Friday's All Things Considered show.
MPR: Have you ever dealt with a case where a subject has been so steadfast in their refusal to divulge information?
Susan Gaertner: No, I never have. I can imagine why the Anoka County officials are scratching their heads. First of all it's hard to figure out why Jane Doe is proceeding in this manner and also it's hard to figure out what to do about it.
MPR: Now in this case the suspect has thrown up an almost bizarre series of roadblocks into the investigation, including obviously refusing to say who she is, not giving her fingerprints or allowing a mugshot. What are police officers supposed to do in a situation like that?
Gaertner: One of the things I think is so interesting is you can imagine why someone would not provide information if it's incriminating but there doesn't seem to be anything incriminating about her identity beyond some pretty insignificant warrant activity out of another state. And also you can imagine someone would throw up these roadblocks on religious grounds or other kind of higher purposes. But in this case she simply has everyone flummoxed and for no particular reason that at least can be ascertained at this point.
MPR: Now eventually we should say police were able to lift her fingerprints from a drinking glass and run them through a national database to come up with this identity of Tammy Thomas. And apparently she has now said that that's who she is. But is that really enough to go on with the rest of the investigation?
Gaertner: Well I think that they can be confident that she is who she is based on the fingerprints. There is really no reason to doubt those fingerprint-match information. But the problem is: Now what? They know who she is, but I think the bigger question that she has presented is, by refusing to cooperate with an examination by a psychologist to decide whether or not she is competent to participate in the legal proceedings, that's a much harder thing to do. You can use ruse as they did to grab her fingerprints, but it's a lot harder to get her to talk to evaluate where she's at in terms of her mental state.
MPR: From your perspective as former Ramsey County Attorney, Susan Gaertner, do you think the court in Anoka County is following this process as best they can?
Gaertner: I think the Anoka County Court is doing a really job of taking a measured approach, respecting the Constitutional rights of Jane Doe. But at the same time trying to hold her accountable for the alleged criminal activity she's accused of.
Here, in reverse-chronological order, are Fridley Patch's posts on the case of Jane Doe/Tammy Thomas:
- Sept. 7: Fridley's 'Jane Doe': 'I Have a Right to Remain Silent'
- Aug. 8: Fridley's 'Jane Doe' Declined to Cooperate With Psych Evaluation
- Aug. 2: Fridley's 'Jane Doe' Finally Poses for Anoka County Mugshot
- July 31: Booking Photos from Illinois that ID'd 'Jane Doe'
- July 30: New ID-theft Charges against Fridley's 'Jane Doe'
- July 30: 'Jane Doe' Breaks Anoka Jail Record for Holding-cell Stay
- July 28: Report: 'Jane Doe' at Anoka Co. Jail Is Tammy Antoinette Thomas
- July 16: Fridley Police Have Leads in 'Jane Doe' Case
- July 13: Pioneer Press: Holding Cell is Home for 'Jane Doe'
- July 13: PHOTO: Fridley's 'Jane Doe'
- July 13: StarTribune: 'Jane Doe' Is Eating, Talking to Her Attorney
- July 13: See the Route Police Think 'Jane Doe' Took from WI to Fridley
- July 12: Charges against Jane Doe: Trespassing, Receiving Stolen Property
- July 12: Jailed 'Jane Doe' Was on Multi-state Crime Spree, Police Say