Let ‘Dog’ off the hook for Mexico infraction
Celebrity bounty hunter Duane Chapman has been arrested for extradition to Mexico.
BOUNTY hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman's capture of a notorious criminal, which brought him fame and celebrity status, has taken a gloomy turn with his arrest for extradition to Mexico, where he faces kidnapping charges stemming from that same capture. Chapman's capture of serial rapist Andrew Luster would not have been illegal if it had occurred in the United States, and his extradition should be denied.
Chapman acted unwisely when he returned to the United States soon after a Mexico judge released him on bail in June 2003. However, brash conduct is not illegal, and bounty hunting is neither a federal crime in the United States nor a state crime in Hawaii. In Mexico, bounty hunting can be prosecuted as deprivation of liberty -- akin to kidnapping without demanding a ransom.
Chapman, 53, son Leland and associate Timothy Chapman were arrested yesterday by U.S. marshals in Honolulu, where Chapman was filming the reality serial "Dog the Bounty Hunter," the A&E channel's top-rated show. The disruption is minor compared to the prison terms they could face if convicted in Mexico.
The U.S. extradition treaty with Mexico does not require either country to turn over its citizens upon every request unless the conduct alleged of the accused is considered criminal in both nations or in the requesting nation and the state where the accused is found. That is not the case here.
Flexibility allowed in enforcing extradition requests also should include consideration of the circumstances. Chapman's actions in Mexico resulted in the imprisonment of Luster, who was convicted while on the run of drugging and raping women in his California home. Luster is serving a prison term of 124 years.
As publicist Mona K. Wood correctly assessed upon Chapman's arrest, "He arrests the bad guys -- and he is definitely not one of them."
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