Bardo Illegally Extradited, His Lawyer Charges
A defense attorney for the man accused of murdering actress Rebecca Schaeffer asked Friday that the case against his client be dropped, charging that Robert John Bardo was illegally extradited from Arizona to Los Angeles.
Deputy Public Defender Stephen E. Galindo argued that the case be dismissed in Los Angeles and that Bardo be returned to Arizona for a hearing because Los Angeles police officers snatched the suspect without court approval.
“The courts should not sanction or condone unlawful police practices,” Galindo said in a motion filed before Municipal Judge David M. Horwitz.
Prosecutors have maintained that they broke no laws in extraditing Bardo, 19.
Bearded and with a bandage wrapped around one hand, Bardo listened quietly as Horwitz rescheduled his arraignment for Sept. 13 to allow Galindo time to collect affidavits to support the defense’s contentions.
Galindo said he did not know why his client was wearing the bandage.
Bardo is accused of stalking and fatally shooting Schaeffer, 21, co-star of the television series “My Sister Sam,” at her Fairfax District apartment house on July 18. Bardo was arrested and jailed in Tucson a day after the actress was shot.
Los Angeles police investigators said Bardo directed them to the .357 magnum used to kill Schaeffer, a bloody shirt and copy of “Catcher in the Rye,” all found near the murder scene.
On Aug. 10, Bardo was spirited out of Tucson to Los Angeles County Jail by Los Angeles police officers who arrived late at night.
Prosecutors argued that the extradition was legal because Bardo’s attorney in Tucson, Pima County Assistant Public Defender Lori Lefferts, unknowingly filed a motion against the action at the wrong courthouse.
“She filed a motion in Justice Court (in Tucson), which has no jurisdiction,” said Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Marcia Clark, who is prosecuting Bardo. “She should have walked across the street and filed a writ in Superior Court. The Justice Court judge couldn’t grant her a stay even if he’d wanted to.”
Clark said an Aug. 18 deadline was set for the prosecution to present its extradition papers. She said the defense lawyers mistakenly assumed that the date applied to their motion as well.
However, Lefferts, in an interview Friday, insisted that Aug. 18 was the correct deadline and that she did nothing wrong.
“I filed the writ in the proper court before the Aug. 18 deadline (for the writ) expired, but that was done after Bardo was illegally taken,” Lefferts said.
Lefferts added that the county attorney in Tucson “apparently didn’t understand the law” concerning extradition.
“And to cover up,” she said, “they have blamed me for making a mistake.”
She characterized her office as incensed about the extradition.
“We are extremely angry that (the police officers) would sneak over here in the middle of the night and do something like that,” she said.
Arizona officials said they do not intend to actively seek Bardo’s return but will depend on Galindo to prove in Los Angeles Municipal Court that the extradition of Bardo violated his constitutional right of due process.
Galindo said he is seeking a hearing on the matter to clear up “speculation” about the extradition.
“There are several people who are pertinent witnesses to the issues I have brought up,” he said. “However, it doesn’t seem that the court is willing to accept my proposal for a hearing.”