Santa Barbara – Being a famous actor—even one who has been nominated for an Academy Award—doesn’t hold much weight when the Santa Barbara District Attorney smells a crime. This is the ongoing reality experienced by the star of such renowned films as The Last Detail, Brokeback Mountain, Midnight Express, and The Last Picture Show, Randy Quaid.
The 64-year-old Quaid and his wife Evi were both arrested in Santa Barbara on September 19, 2010 and charged with felony vandalism, misdemeanor trespassing, and defrauding an innkeeper. Evi Quaid was separately charged at the time with resisting arrest. Both were released on bail at the time, but neither has ever appeared in court to face the original charges, and have been sought on a warrant charging them with felony failure to appear while out on bail ever since.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, the Quaids were soon after seen in Vancouver, British Columbia where they sought asylum pursuant to their fears of retribution from “a group they call the ‘Hollywood Star Whackers’.” Living in exile in Canada for the past five years has apparently worn thin, however, as the Quaids—who had relocated to Montreal—were detained on October 2nd by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at a border crossing leading into the state of Vermont. When the border patrol agents discovered that their detainees were fugitives and wanted in Santa Barbara County, Mr. & Mrs. Quaid were remanded into the custody of Vermont State Police.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff and the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office, upon learning of their apprehension, reported “It is the intent of the sheriff’s office and the District Attorney’s Office that Mr. and Mrs. Quaid—either voluntarily or, if necessary, by a warrant from the governor of California—go through the judicial process.”
Hoover indicated to the media that a Santa Barbara Felony Fugitives Unit would “coordinate their return” to Santa Barbara to face their pending charges.
But in another twist worthy of a Hollywood movie, or at least a TV special, the Vermont judge, Alison Arms, ordered the couple’s release from custody, dismissing the charges that they were fugitives from justice. She reportedly reviewed the paperwork and determined that there was no legal basis for their incarceration in Vermont.
According to USA Today, the issue in Quaid’s hearing was whether he should be released on conditions or reduced bail, and whether a California judge ever found probable cause to support charges against him and his wife. Arms ruled there is no probable cause to charge Quaid with vandalism or trespassing in California, and later made the same determination for Evi Quaid.
However, Judge Arms did find a legal basis for the charges against them both for failing to appear in court in 2010. Meanwhile, Santa Barbara County D. A. Joyce Dudley stated that the Quaids’ release was news to her, and she had yet to review anything from the Vermont court. The couple still face extradition to California.
Photos: Courtesy Vermont State Police
CrimeVoice staff contributed to this report