The District Attorney's office in Santa Barbara has asked the U.S. Justice Department to determine whether Randy and Evi Quaid can be extradited from Canada, where they have been living since October. The Quaids are facing felony vandalism and misdemeanour trespassing charges in California, in connection with a Montecito property they once owned.
"We have a criminal case pending, so our county is concerned about bringing the Quaids back to Santa Barbara County," Deputy District Attorney Anthony Davis told The Globe and Mail on Wednesday.
"This office has made an inquiry/request to the [U.S. Department of Justice]regarding whether or not the Quaids can be extradited from Canada," Santa Barbara Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter wrote in an e-mail to The Globe. "The decision on whether or not to attempt to have the Quaids returned to California lies with the [U.S. Department of Justice] We are waiting on an answer to our inquiry."
The application for extradition came to light on Monday, when the bond company that put up $1-million (U.S.) for the Quaids was in court on a motion to extend the time it has to bring the couple back to the jurisdiction before forfeiting the bail bond. The motion was granted and the American Surety Company now has an additional 180 days to bring the Quaids back to California - until Nov. 7, 2011.
The Vancouver lawyers who have been handling the Quaids's case were unaware of the development when contacted by The Globe and Mail on Wednesday, but said they didn't think the Quaids were extraditable.
"[Mr. Carter]has to make a request to the U.S. Department of Justice, who will analyze it to see if it comes within the terms of the [extradition]treaty. When I did that analysis, it didn't," said Don Sorochan, who has been handling the Quaids's international criminal matters. "In my analysis of the charges laid against them, they're not extraditable."
Mr. Sorochan's colleague Catherine Sas, who has also been working with the Quaids, agreed. "It's our review of the law that these offences are non-extraditable and if they do undertake this process, it's a rather convoluted, lengthy process."
Randy and Evi Quaid crossed the border into Canada on Oct. 17, 2010, and were arrested four days later and jailed under the Canadian Immigration Act. They applied for refugee status, saying they were seeking asylum from "star whackers" targeting Hollywood celebrities.
Ms. Quaid, whose father was Canadian, has been granted citizenship, and she is sponsoring her actor husband. They've been living in Vancouver, pursuing music and film projects.