Greg Cox wrote:
I always figured that Starfleet was in no hurry to prosecute Kirk, which is why they were waiting patiently for Kirk and his crew to turn themselves in eventually, instead of demanding their immediate extradition from Vulcan. Nobody really wanted to throw the book at the legendary crew that saved Earth from V'Ger and brought Spock back to life.
And after Kirk and Co. saved Earth again, from the whale probe, I figure Starfleet was sincerely grateful, not pissed-off.
^ This has always been my take on it as well. Vulcan is a Federation planet, Starfleet could have picked up the "exiled" crew anytime they liked. But they didn't, for various political reasons. Not least of which being that the only guy really calling
for Kirk's head on a plate was the Klingon Ambassador, and let's be honest: the Federation weren't exactly going to bend over backwards to do him any favors, were they?