August 02, 2007 11:15 PM by Joe Blackmon
A Mexican court has dismissed charges of illegal detention and
conspiracy against TV reality star Duane "Dog" Chapman and two
co-stars, A&E Network has learned. The court ruled that the statute of limitations in the case had expired, according to Chapman’s legal team.
In Hawaii, Chapman and his family were photographed Monday as they counted down the final moments, then heard — and celebrated — the court’s decision.
Prosecutors have until August 8th to decide whether to appeal, said Doug Jacobs, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at A&E. A full appeal could take two months to resolve.
Chapman, son Leland, and associate Timothy Chapman, no relation, were arrested on Sept. 14, 2006, by U.S. Marshals and jailed in Honolulu on behalf of the Mexican government. The three men were released on bail and ordered to wear an electronic ankle bracelet for house arrest.
The charges stemmed from Chapman’s capture of Max Factor heir Andrew Luster, who had fled the country while on trial on charges he raped three women, on June 18, 2003, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, said Marshals’ spokeswoman Nikki Credic in Washington.
The Chapmans were charged with "Deprivation of Liberty" under Mexican law. They posted bail but were unaware of their obligation to return and never did return to Puerto Vallarta for their court hearing.
Dog’s capture of Luster catapulted the 54-year-old bounty hunter to fame and led to the reality series, "Dog The Bounty Hunter" on A&E. The show focuses on Chapman’s family as much as the bounty hunting, which generally involves tracking down bail jumpers around the Hawaiian Islands, often creating emotional scenes with repentant captives.
Chapman’s wife, Beth, was also detained in September 2006. Federal marshals allegedly caught her wearing an A&E body microphone when entering the courthouse for her husband’s bond hearing. Electronic recording devices are prohibited by law from being carried into federal courthouses. She was released after explaining that she forgot to take it off before walking into court. The judge, after speaking to the A&E crew, was satisfied that no recording was done and let her go with a stern warning.
Visit the Dog Chapman site at http://www.aetv.com/dog_the_bounty_hunter/ for additional updates and information on the upcoming programming event Dog Days of Summer. And don’t miss the Dog The Bounty Hunter special “A Man Called Dog” airing on Aug. 14th at 9pm EST on A&E.