What is Extradition?
Extradition refers to the act of one state or nation returning an apprehended fugitive over to another one for trial or punishment in their courts. U.S. federal laws, and state laws are used together to handle the extradition of criminals from one state to another while international extradition is governed by federal law.
The Extradition Clause in the U.S. Constitution states that any accused person, who flees to another state to evade capture of punishment, can be sent back to the state where the crime was committed. If the governor of a state requests that a fugitive be returned for prosecution, than law enforcement officers are required to do so.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, there are four issues that must be considered by a state when deciding whether or not to extradite a fugitive:
- Are the documents all in order?
- Has the person actually been charged with a crime in the state that is requesting his return?
- Is the person really a fugitive from the state making the request?
- Is the person named in the request the actual perpetrator of the crime?
While most states do no further investigation of the fugitive’s alleged crime, they do have laws that require them to inform the party to be extradited of 1) the other state’s request, 2) the criminal charge, and 3) inform the individual that s/he has the right to have an attorney.
International extradition treaties govern the transfer of fugitives from one nation to another. Some nations will not extradite an individual if the offense is not considered a crime by them locally or if the nation fears that the fugitive would be tortured or killed if sent back to where the crime was committed. Many nations will also refuse to extradite a person to another country if they have been charged with political crimes like treason, spying, or criticism of that country’s government because of the harsh punishments that would be imposed.
Because the laws for extradition are complex and varied, it is crucial for you to exercise your right to have legal counsel as soon as you are made aware of the request. The outstanding legal team at Haley law firm, LLC can help you to protect your rights. Call today for your free consultation.