A Santa Barbara judge denied a request from a bail bond company to exonerate bonds for actor Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi Quaid.
Judge Frank Ochoa, after considering the issue for nearly two months, ruled American Surety Company — the bond company that fronted the money for the Quaids’ freedom — is out the $1 million it put up on the Quaid’s behalf after it couldn’t produce the couple more than a year after posting the bail.
In September 2010, the Quaids were arrested in connection with illegally living on the property at 1355 East Mountain Drive, at a residence they used to own. The Quaids have claimed they still own the residence, and so made themselves at home. While at the house, according to authorities, they broke a mirror, switched the furniture around, and etched “RQ” in the mailbox. Charges of unauthorized entry of a dwelling, vandalism, and resisting or obstructing a police officer were filed against the couple.
American Surety Company filed $50,000 in bail bonds for each of them, and the Quaids were released from custody, with an order to appear in court the next month. They didn’t appear at that hearing, nor at three subsequent hearings they were supposed to attend. While the court ordered bench warrants for the Quaids’ arrest after their first absence, the DA’s Office requested the court increase the bail to $500,000 each after news the Quaids had been arrested in Canada. The court granted the argument, and Surety filed bail bonds of $500,000 for both Randy and Evi.
After they skipped town, Randy Quaid — perhaps best known as Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — appeared in front of the media in Canada, claiming to be the victim of criminal activities perpetrated by a small network of individuals who have manipulated the banking and criminal justice systems. He cited a “monstrous ring of accountants, estate planners, and lawyers who are mercilessly slandering me, trying to kill my career, and I believe murder me.”
It is believed the Quaids are still in Canada. Last year, the DA sought to extradite the couple back to Santa Barbara, a request that was denied by the Department of Justice.
In November, Ochoa heard an argument from Surety asking the court to exonerate the $500,000. An attorney for Surety argued the $500,000 bonds were invalid because the Quaids weren’t in custody at the time it was posted. County counsel opposed the argument. In a very technical ruling, the court, among other things, pointed to state code that says bail may be forfeited if a defendant fails to appear without sufficient excuse.
A warrant for the Quaids’ arrest remains in place.
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