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Judge halts 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' star Duane Chapman's extradition

By Christopher Rocchio, 11/06/2007 

Despite trouble on the home front for Duane Chapman, the Dog the Bounty Hunter star's Mexican kidnapping saga is apparently over.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled on Monday that Chapman will not be extradited to Mexico to face a pending appeal of kidnapping charges, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Chapman, his son Leland and another colleague were arrested in 2006 in Puerto Vallarta -- where bounty hunting is illegal -- for the 2003 capture of Max Factor heir Andrew Luster, who was wanted in the U.S. for rape and is now serving a 124-year sentence. They were briefly detained in Mexico for Luster's capture before posting $300,000 bail and subsequently returning to the United States.

A Mexican court granted Chapman a stay in his criminal case and in the extradition proceedings against him last October, but four months later, a federal court cleared the way for Chapman to be extradited and face illegal detention charges. 

The charges against Chapman, his son and the colleague were dismissed this August because the statute of limitation on the criminal counts pending against them had expired. 

Although all the pending charges against them were effectively canceled -- awarding the bounty hunters "absolute and immediate freedom" by the Mexican court -- prosecutors still had several days to decide whether to appeal, which they did.  But Jurren dismissed the extradition attempt because -- despite the appeal -- the three are no technically longer charged with any offenses, according to The AP.

With the extradition halted, Chapman still has to deal another mess. 

Last week, a taped phone conversation in which Chapman could be heard repeatedly using a racial slur was released to The National Enquirer.  Chapman immediately apologized for his use of the slur, however A&E has suspended production on Dog the Bounty Hunter's fifth season and pulled reruns of the show's first four seasons off its primetime programming schedule.

Chapman is expected to address the issue further during a Wednesday night appearance on CNN's Larry King Live program.

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