Friday, July 18, 2008

DAs office explains why Rapport not previously extradited

Orange County not notified of prior encounters with the law

Express Staff Writer

Gary Rapport was not extradited to California previously because the Orange County District Attorney's Office was not notified of other encounters he had with the law.

"This month we were notified that the defendant was in Idaho and we began extradition proceedings," Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County DA's Office, told the Idaho Mountain Express on Thursday.

"Prior to that time, we did not receive any information that the defendant had any contact with law enforcement," she said.

Emami was responding to claims made by Rapport's wife Yanti Ibrahim, who said that Orange County had previous opportunities to seek extradition. Ibrahim said Rapport could have been extradited when he was charged with assault in December 2007 in Montana, when she and Rapport entered the U.S. in May 2006 and on several occasions when he was pulled over by police on traffic charges.

Rappport, the former executive director of the Ketchum Community Development Corporation, resigned his post on July 8 and was arrested by Ketchum Police later that day on the California warrant. He is charged in Orange County with felony second-degree burglary for allegedly stealing several thousand dollars from Leisure World Market in Seal Beach in June of 1997. Seal Beach police allege that Rapport was employed at Leisure World prior to the theft but not at the time it occurred.

Emami explained that the warrant was not previously extraditable because of the way warrant information is entered into the U.S. Department of Justice criminal database. All warrants, she said, are automatically entered as non-extraditable except in homicide cases.

If a warrant is non-extraditable, then a defendant can only be arrested on a warrant in the state where it originated.

"In order to change that, an officer or a prosecutor has to call and request that the warrant be changed to extraditable, which is what happened on July 8 to bring the defendant back to California," Emami said.

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