Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Trials Of Dog

"Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person, is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian."

-Dennis Wholey

The world we live in isn't always a fair and just one... agreed? So, where do the lines of justice blur? Is it ever ok to break the law, for a righteous reason? Do motives supersede ethics or legalities?

I am thinking about the situation that Duane "Dog" Chapman, star of the A&E show, "Dog The Bounty Hunter," is currently facing. As you probably know by now, Dog, and his son and an associate, were arrested at their Honolulu home earlier this month, by U.S. Marshall's, on charges connected to the 2003 arrest, made by the men, of Max factor heir, and wanted fugitive, Andrew Luster. Luster had been on the run from his Los Angeles trial, where he was being tried on 86 charges of raping three woman, and drugging them with the date rape drug, GHB. Luster disappeared from his Ventura County home in early January, 2003, during his trial, and in his absence he was subsequently convicted of the charges and sentenced to 124 years in prison. When Luster fled, it set off an internation manhunt that included California police, the FBI and also included bounty hunters other then Chapman, who were seeking to re-coop some of the million dollar bail that had been posted by Luster.

During the 5 months after Luster skipped bail, Chapman had apparently made it a personal crusade to bring the cosmetics heir to justice. Duane "Dog" Chapman has claimed to have caught over 6,000 fugitives in his time as a bounty hunter, so I think he must have been aware of the legalities involved. Mexican laws says that the kidnapping on anyone, fugitive or not, is illegal. Period. Dog knew the law, and chose to pursue Luster anyway. The moral pull here is that he caught someone who was a clear threat to any society he lived in. After Luster was arrested in Mexico, the authorities found video tapes, and personal journals written by Luster which included detailed acts of violence he was planning to carry out, some included as,"payback," to the victims who had testified against him in his trial. So here is a question...

Should Duane, "Dog" Chapman be extradited to Mexico, to stand trial on charges of kidnapping fugitive, Andrew Luster?

AOL News, ran a poll earlier today, in which 86% of the respondents replied
"No" to that question. You can find the complete article and poll here.

There is a lot about this case I don't understand. For instance, why did federal marshalls have to "storm" Chapman's home at 6:00 am in order to arrest him? I think that given Chapman's celebrity he would have gone willingly when arrested. In fact, he did go willingly, there was no attempt to flee, so why was he arrested in such a melodramatic manner? Also, why did it take Mexican authorities over 3 years to finally file charges against Duane, Timothy and Leland?

The men are all currently released on bail, until a hearing later this month decides when they will be extradited to Mexico for trial on kidnapping charges. In the meantime, they are required to remain in the state, and to wear a tracking device which limits their movements to daylight hours. Chapman released a statement yesterday, offering the Mexican authorities an apology and an offer to pay whatever fine might be imposed in lieu of jail time in a Mexican prison.

So tell me, if you had the opportunity to stop a dangerous person, but knew up-front that you were probably going to be breaking the law to do it, would you? Tell me about what you think about Dog's arrest, and if you think he should serve time, then tell me how you think you would have handled the same, or a similar circumstance. Should public opinion ever be considered a deciding factor ,in who or what, is brought to trial? I want to know what you think.

L - R Leland Chapman, associate, Timothy Chapman, & Duane Chapman

Andrew Luster, after his arrest in Mexico (2003)

The wedding day of Duane and Beth Chapman (2006)

Court TV: Inside The Take-Down Of Andrew Luster

Fugitive Max Factor Heir Captured


GLendaRs said...

This is a tough one to answer. Bringing this guy who was such a threat to society back for trial was necessary. I guess the thing is we're dealing with a foreign government which most likely would have chosen not to cooperate with a bounty hunter in such an instance. Do we know if that approach was tried.

I would hope that some sort of deal between governments would be arranged so that Dog's clan doesn't all end up rotting in some mexican hell hole.

Yeah, there are a LOT of questions of ethics here. I suspect the Marshalls don't like being 'one upped' by his tv show & it may well be that someone in some branch of law enforcement is 'making a statement' and orchestrated this whole ordeal.

And yes, they did break the law ... I'm sure knowingly, but when not doing so means you are letting a really bad guy get away and at the risk of your family I guess you weight the odds. The odds went against them this time.

And then there is the issue which is probably under it all ...


Jimmy said...

I think you raised a good question with the circumstances surround Chapman's arrest. I guess in the age of Reality TV, everyone wants a little face time, even if the have to set the stage themselves, and I guess that doesn't exclude the FBI.
Chapman did a lot of people a favor, but I guess no good deed goes unpunished. (neither does showing up a whole lot of law-enforcement agencies)