Extradition is when one State or foreign nation delivers a convicted or suspected criminal to another state or nation.
In general, the extradition process begins with a request from one executive to another. An executive authority of the requesting State/nation must submit a request for extradition to the State/nation which the fugitive has fled. This request must include certified copy of an indictment or affidavit naming the fugitive and their alleged crime.
The executive of the receiving State/nation must immediately find and arrest the fugitive, and after so doing notify the requesting State of the fugitive’s apprehension. Once the requesting State/nation has received this notice they must send representatives to take custody of the fugitive and escort him back.
What is interstate extradition?
This is extradition between various states, and is compelled by the “Extradition of Fugitives Clause” in the U.S. Constitution. The clause requires all States to transfer those fugitives who have committed or are suspected of committing a crime to the State from which the fled.
For example, if suspected criminal Smith is wanted in Texas but is captured in Wyoming, Texas would apply to Wyoming to extradite Smith back to Texas.
What is international extradition?
The general international principles of international law do not require extradition, and as such it can only be requested by one sovereign nation to another unless it is compelled by a signed and settled treaty.
Even if there is a treaty, some nations will not extradite a suspected/convicted criminal in certain circumstances. These can include if the alleged crime is only prohibited in one of the nations, if the crime is of political nature, and crimes for which the death penalty may be applied.
Which countries could I be extradited to or from?
Even if no treaty exists between the U.S. and a country, if there is open diplomatic relations, you could still be extradited even in the absence of an extradition treaty. The United States has bilateral extradition treaties with all of the countries listed below; however, this list may be incomplete as treaties are signed or discarded over time. And as described above, certain of these treaties may limit the country’s obligation to extradite based on certain enumerated factors.
According to data from the U.S. State Department the following countries have, at some point, registered extradition treaties with the United States according to Title 18 Section 3181 of the U.S. Code:
·Antigua and Barbuda
·Papua New Guinea
·Saint Christopher and Nevis
·Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
·Trinidad and Tobago
Should I consult a lawyer?
Extradition can be complicated, especially when conducted between sovereign nations. Should you worry about the possibility of extradition, you should contact an attorney for advice and the current state of extradition policy between the U.S. and the country in question.