Mexican court bites 'Dog' Chapman, allows extradition
The case might rest on the issue of supervision
GUADALAJARA, Mexico » A federal court has cleared the way for bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman to be extradited to face charges in Mexico, court officials said yesterday.
Norma Jara, a spokeswoman for the second district court in Guadalajara, said the court rejected Chapman's injunction request, ruling there was no reason not to try him on a charge of deprivation of liberty.
Chapman's lawyers argued he would not be guaranteed a fair trial in Mexico, Jara said.
The charges against the 53-year-old star of the A&E reality series "Dog the Bounty Hunter" stem from his June 2003 capture of convicted rapist Andrew Luster, the Max Factor heir, in Puerto Vallarta, 210 miles west of Guadalajara.
Mona Wood, spokeswoman for Chapman in Honolulu, said his attorneys have appeared before the Mexican court "trying to show that the arrest was not constitutional." The most recent hearing was Feb. 6.
Chapman was released on $300,000 bail after a September hearing in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren originally ordered Chapman to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.
On Oct. 17 an appeals court in Guadalajara granted an order to halt the criminal case, including extradition proceedings, against Chapman, his son Leland and associate Timothy Chapman (no relation) until further evidence and testimony were gathered.
Wood said Chapman was allowed to take off the electronic bracelet after that hearing and has traveled to fulfill commitments in his career. He is currently in Hawaii.
On a request from the Mexican government, U.S. marshals arrested Chapman and his associates in Hawaii to face charges in Mexico. Bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico unless supervised by authorities.
Chapman and his attorneys claim he was within his constitutional right in capturing Luster in June 2003. His California-based attorney William Bollard said Chapman, his son and associate had been under the supervision of someone whom they "reasonably believed" to be an active-duty police officer.
Chapman faces up to four years in a Mexican jail if convicted.
Luster's capture shot the Honolulu-based bounty hunter to fame and led to the TV series. Luster's disappearance set off an international manhunt by police, FBI and bounty hunters trying to recoup some of the bond money. Luster is serving a 124-year prison term.
Star-Bulletin reporter Mary Adamski and the Associated Press contributed to this report.