Mexican court clears way for Dog's extradition

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) - A federal court cleared the way for TV bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman to be extradited to face charges in Mexico, but the decision can still be appealed.

Norma Jara, a spokeswoman for the second district court in Guadalajara, said Thursday the court rejected Chapman's injunction request, ruling there was no reason not to try him on charges he illegally arrested Max Factor makeup heir and convicted rapist Andrew Luster in 2003.

"We only just heard about the Mexican court's decision to continue with the extradition proceedings, and are still in shock," Chapman and his wife, Beth, said in a statement issued Thursday night in Honolulu.

"Our attorneys have not even been formally informed of the court's decision, as of yet. We are obviously deeply disappointed and fearful of what will happen, and are currently absorbing the news and discussing our options at this time."

Once Chapman has been formally notified of the decision, he has five days to file an appeal that could block his extradition.

Mexican authorities have already asked for Chapman's extradition from Hawaii.

Chapman's attorney said Friday he believes his client will be treated fairly by the Mexican judicial system, which allows for an appeal of a court decision to extradite Chapman and two fellow bounty hunters.

Attorney William Bollard said the only word Chapman's attorneys so far had of the Mexican court came through an Associated Press story out of Guadalajara.

"The legal process in Mexico continues, and we remain confident that our clients' case will be handled fairly through the appeals process, if necessary," Bollard said in a statement.

Bollard said the Chapmans are "relying on the Mexican judicial system to do the right thing by exonerating our clients."

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 Luster in Puerto Vallarta. Luster had fled to Mexico to avoid trial, and his detention by Chapman led to his return to the U.S. and a 124-year prison term.

Luster's capture shot the Honolulu-based bounty hunter to fame and led to the TV series.

Chapman, who is now free on $300,000 bail, faces up to four years in a Mexican jail if convicted. But his Mexican lawyer, Jorge Huerta, doubts he would get the maximum. Huerta said illegal detention is a relatively minor crime in Mexico, and that if Chapman is convicted, he would likely only have to pay a fine of several hundred dollars.