Mexican charges against 'Dog' star Duane Chapman dismissed
By Christopher Rocchio, 08/03/2007
Duane Chapman is out of the dog house.
The A&E Network Dog the Bounty Hunter star had all charges against him dismissed earlier this week by the First Criminal Court in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
"Viva La Mexico!" said Chapman upon the closure of his court case.
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.
While a Mexican court granted Chapman a stay in his criminal case as well as in the extradition proceedings against him in October, four months later a federal court cleared the way for Chapman to be extradited and face illegal detention charges.
However according to Alberto Zinser and Jim Quadra -- Mexican and U.S. attorneys for the Chapman family -- the charges against Chapman, his son and the colleague were dismissed because the statute of limitation on the criminal counts pending against them had expired. As a result, all the pending charges against them were effectively canceled, awarding the bounty hunters "absolute and immediate freedom" by the Mexican court.
Doug Jacobs, senior vice president and general counsel at A&E, said prosecutors have until August 8 to decide whether to appeal, adding a full appeal could take two months to resolve.