JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Duane "Dog" Chapman flashed a shaka sign yesterday as he exited the U.S. District Courthouse escorted by wife Beth and lawyer James Blancarte after being released on $300,000 bail in connection with his Mexican extradition case.
Judge lets the ‘Dog’ out
The bounty hunter salutes fans as he leaves court and is out on $300,000 bail
A federal magistrate judge let the "Dog" out yesterday to the delight of his fans who packed the courtroom at his detention hearing.
Duane "Dog" Chapman, star of the reality TV show "Dog the Bounty Hunter," was released to home detention on $300,000 bail yesterday. Chapman had been held since his arrest Thursday by federal agents for his extradition to Mexico.
Chapman, his son Leland and partner Timothy Chapman are wanted in Mexico for capturing Max Factor heir and convicted rapist Andrew Luster in 2003. Bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico.
After exiting the federal building from a side entrance at about 6:20 p.m. yesterday, Chapman, still dressed in blue prison garb, said he was grateful for his fans' support. "If it wouldn't have been for the people that love us, we don't know what would have happened," Chapman said.
"We love America, and the federal marshals treated us with great respect."
Beth Chapman, however, tried to keep her husband from saying anything to reporters as she pushed photographers and cameramen out of the way.
"James, what the f-- are you doing?" she screamed at his lawyer, James Blancarte, trying to get him to stop Chapman from making any incriminating statements. "Are you the lawyer? Shut him up."
Federal Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren allowed Chapman to continue his bail bond business and filming his TV show in Hawaii while not in house detention. He also ordered Chapman to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Brook Hart, another Chapman attorney, argued there were special circumstances that should allow his clients to go free. He said the Mexican government sought extradition three years after the Chapmans left Mexico. Hart said it is questionable whether the crime Chapman is accused of is a crime in the United States. This would mean he cannot be extradited for the Mexican crime, Hart said.
Hart said Chapman was charged with unlawful restraint of liberty or false imprisonment but not kidnapping.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Johnson argued that the Chapmans subjected themselves to the laws of Mexico when they sought Luster, never knowing that bounty hunting was illegal there.
Kurren told Johnson that "in the spectrum of cases, it really is on the lower end."
Johnson asked the judge whether the United States would tolerate Mexican nationals coming in to the country to take custody of other Mexican nationals.
Johnson said it would be difficult for the court's pretrial services personnel to supervise Chapman because of his work as a bail bondsman, and "the potential liability is immense."
Kurren ruled the Chapmans did not pose a flight risk.
"Just look at him," he said, looking at Duane Chapman. "There's no way he can elude capture if he attempts to flee," Kurren said.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Dozens of supporters gathered outside the courthouse as the Chapmans left the building.
The magistrate judge noted Mexico waited more than three years to bring the case forward, right at the limitations of the case, and it will likely take some time to complete.
He added that the Chapmans pose "no evidence of a danger to the community" and that they have been "living openly and notoriously, aware of the case in Mexico."
Johnson insisted on electronic monitoring if Kurren allowed their release.
"You're only going to enhance their business if they get on TV with bracelets," Kurren said.
As Johnson argued against Beth Chapman from acting as custodian for her husband and son, a man in the gallery cleared his throat loudly.
Johnson stared, and the man apologized, saying, "I'm sorry. They're heroes," and he was removed from the courtroom by U.S. deputy marshals.
Johnson said Beth Chapman was unsuitable as a custodian, noting that she and her son Duane Lee had entered the courtroom wearing microphones. All electronic recording equipment is forbidden inside the courthouse.
Their attorney Howard Glickstein argued that they were "miked up" at 7 a.m. Thursday and were to be filming until they arrived at court.
They entered the courthouse through the security checkpoint, which beeped, but were never stopped or wanded. He said the microphones are connected to receivers but that the receiver device was turned off and nothing was recorded.
Johnson called for a public relations person who was rumored to have said they were going to be doing a live feed to the "Geraldo" show.
The woman, publicist Mona Woods, said it was a misinterpretation and believes someone overheard her saying they were going to do it at the house and thought she might have said "courthouse." "We already know not to do such a thing in a federal courthouse," and would never have attempted to do a live feed or bring recording equipment into the courthouse.
Beth Chapman said after the hearing that she had no idea she had it on, and once a deputy marshal had asked her son to remove his, she took her mike off too and surrendered it to the marshals. "I was so distraught the whole morning," she said. "There was no malice."