Extradition is the process of surrendering an accused or convicted persons from one state to a different state. The purpose of extradition is to prevent a person who has been accused of a crime from escaping, and to secure their return to the jurisdiction where they committed the crime. In other words, extradition is the returning of the accused to the state from which they fled, for the purpose of trial and/or legal punishment.
Extradition becomes mandatory if the person is classified as a fugitive. A person becomes a fugitive if they have committed a crime in one state, subsequently left the state, and afterwards reside in the new state for the purposes of evading prosecution. Extradition proceedings and requirements are governed by federal laws.
What are the Requirements for Extradition?
The process of extradition is generally reserved for serious crimes such as felonies or treason. Other requirements to extradite a person include:
The presence of the fugitive has been demanded by an executive authority
The requesting executive authority must provide copies of indictment or an affidavit created before a state magistrate
The indictment or affidavit must state charges against the fugitive for a crime or crimes, including felonies, treason, or other offenses. The governor or magistrate of the state must certify the document as authentic
The request must be received by an executive of the state where the crime was originally committed. After receiving the request, the fugitive is to be arrested and secured
An agent of the state requesting extradition must make an appearance to receive the prisoner; this must occur no later than thirty (30) days from the time of arrest
If no agent has appeared within the 30 day time period, the prisoner may be legally discharged
Persons who have been charged with a crime but have not been tried yet may be extradited. Extraditable persons also include those who have been tried and convicted but have escaped custody, and persons who have been subject to conviction in absentia (without appearing in court).
When can Extradition be Refused or Contested?
Extradition may be refused or contested only under the following circumstances:
The documents for extradition are not properly in order
The person in question has not been charged with any crime in the state requesting the extradition
The person has not been properly named in the extradition request
The person in question is not a fugitive
How can Extradition Proceedings be of Help?
Extradition is considered to be in important procedural aspect in the administration of justice. A fugitive can also be subject to international extradition. In the event of an international extradition request, extradition proceedings can help by:
Determining whether a person who has been arrested in the United States must be surrendered to a foreign country
Confirming whether the alleged crime is included in any extradition agreements between the U.S. and a foreign country
Determining whether a warrant may be properly issued to the suspect if there is no treaty or extradition agreement
Deciding whether there is sufficient evidence to make an arrest and detain the person until a foreign nation submits an extradition request
Do I Need a Criminal Lawyer for help with Extradition Proceedings?
Extradition proceedings can raise some very serious issues with regards to a person’s individual liberty and rights. If you are involved in an extradition request, it is important that you speak with a criminal lawyer immediately. Extraditions always involve multiple jurisdictions, and so it may be necessary to hire an attorney for representation. Your attorney can help you determine your rights according to extradition laws.