International Laws and Legal Protection
Bounty hunters will run into serious legal problems if they try to apprehend fugitives from other countries. Laws in nearly all countries outside the U.S. will judge the re-arrest of any fugitive by private persons as kidnapping, or the bail agent may incur the punishments of some other serious crime if local and international laws are broken by them. While the United States government generally allows the activities of bounty hunters within the United States, the government in other sovereign nations are not as tolerant of these activities where legally they are a felony.
Noted bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman (star of the TV series Dog the Bounty Hunter) was arrested in Mexico after he apprehended the multi-millionaire rapist and fugitive Andrew Luster. Chapman was subsequently released and returned to the U.S. Chapman himself was later declared a fugitive by a Mexican prosecutor and was subsequently arrested in the United States to be extradited back to Mexico. Chapman maintains that under Mexico's citizen arrest law, he and his crew acted under proper policy.
Daniel Kear of Fairfax, Virginia pursued and apprehended Sidney Jaffe at a residence in Canada and returned him to Florida to face trial. Kear was extradited to Canada in 1983, and convicted of kidnapping.
Several bounty hunters have also been arrested for killing the fugitive or apprehending the wrong individuals, mistaking innocent people for fugitives.
Unlike police officers, they have no legal protections against injuries to non-fugitives and few legal protections against injuries to their targets.
In a Texas case, bounty hunters Richard James and his partner DG Pearson were arrested in 2001 for felony charges during an arrest. The charges were levied by the fugitive and his family, but were later dismissed against the hunters after the fugitive's wife shot a deputy sheriff in another arrest attempt of the fugitive by the county sheriff's department. The hunters sued the fugitive and family, winning the civil suit for malicious prosecution with a judgment amount of $1.5 million.
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