Hollywood actor Randy Quaid is a free man in New England, no longer labeled a fugitive from justice by Vermont authorities, following a judge's sudden reversal Thursday afternoon.
"I've always known the facts are what they are and that they're in our favor," Quaid said after walking out of court in St. Albans, Vermont.
The "Independence Day" costar and his wife, Evi, had been held in Vermont jails for nearly a week as prosecutors worked with California counterparts to try to return them to the west coast.
"I've never worried about being found guilty," Quaid told reporters Thursday.
In 2010, the Quaids were accused of trespassing in a Santa Barbara pool house on a property they once owned, and damaging property inside. The pair then moved to Canada and allegedly dodged obligations to the California court all this time.
Their "wanted" status popped up when the Quaids tried crossing into Vermont last Friday at the West Berkshire port of entry. Evi Quaid's ailing father lives in Vermont, and she was raised in the state, her attorney said Thursday.
The Quaids were arrested at the border because of the outstanding 2010 accusations in California.
But Thursday, they were suddenly freed, with no conditions placed on them by the state of Vermont, when Judge Alison Arms discovered nebulous 2010 paperwork from California that she said meant she could not impose any orders on them.
"The document submitted was dated the eighth of the month and it was for failure to appear on the sixteenth," defense attorney Peter Langrock said. "So the order was admitted before the appearance was charged, so it couldn't have been appropriate."
Langrock noted the legal issues in California did not vanish Thursday, even if Vermont's fugitive from justice charge did.
Prior to her reversal and the dismissal, Judge Arms had agreed to release the Quaids on conditions if they posted $50,000 bail each. Those conditions would have included that they not leave the state of Vermont.
Quaid told necn he was treated well in Vermont jail, and even that the food was pretty good. "We all got along," he said of the men on his cell block.
His wife, though, said she was traumatized by a fight with another suspect at her facility.
For now, the couple said they're looking forward to enjoying Vermont's fall foliage and living here. Randy Quaid said he may even look into volunteering for the Lincoln Fire Dept., in the community where his father-in-law, a longtime educator, lives.
"This is so great," the actor said before riding away with his attorney in the lawyer's car.
The Quaids still face the likelihood of having to dealing with lingering accusations in California. Randy Quaid said he has an attorney working to resolve the 2010 vandalism case, but he declined to discuss specifics.
A friend of the Quaids, Linda Christie, from Montreal, attended Thursday's hearing. After, she said the Quaids are good people who were caught up in a confusing situation they sincerely hoped to resolve.