By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Artt's still where he was when we profiled him in October 1996: living in San Francisco on bail and awaiting extradition to Northern Ireland. A darling of the Orange County Irish-American community, Artt's a convicted IRA murderer who in 1983 busted out of Northern Ireland's infamous Maze prison in a massive breakout involving 38 inmates.
Artt is a colorful figure who may have been wrongly convicted. After fleeing to the U.S., he frequently visited Orange County while raising a family in San Diego in the years leading to his 1992 arrest. His extradition appeal is one of the longest-pending decisions in the history of the 9th Circuit Court.
On June 15, Artt tested positive for cocaine use for the fourth time in a year—a serious breach of his bail that should have landed him back in jail but didn't: the judge took pity on him for getting jerked around by two governments.
There's irony in all this. As pointed out in the Aug. 1 edition of The Recorder, had he actually been extradited three years ago when first ordered, he would be now be free: as part of the Northern Ireland peace process, the British government pardoned all Maze prisoners last year.