Extradition is the surrender of an alleged criminal or a fugitive by one place to another place where the crime actually occurred. There are two types of extradition:
- Interstate extradition, which are usually predicated on out-of-state arrest warrants.
- International extradition.
International Extradition is a subcategory of federal criminal defense, and as such there are many processes that must be followed.
What Is the Basis for International Extradition?
International extradition is usually carried out pursuant to the terms of a treaty between two countries. The United States has been involved with international extradition treaties since 1795, and currently has extradition treaties in force with over 100 countries. Under these treaties, the United States can request an individual be delivered to it or at the request of a foreign country the United States would have to deliver an individual to that country.
There are 3 main parties involved in an international extradition procedure:
- Requesting Country - the country that seeks to bring the alleged criminal to its borders
- Requested Country - the country that receives the request of extradition
- Alleged Criminal - the individual who is the subject of the proceedings
Extradition to the requesting country is subject to the laws, procedures and policies of the requested country.
Can a US Citizen Be Extradited to a Foreign Country?
Yes. Prior to World War II, the United States did not allow its citizens to be extradited to foreign countries. However, in 1990, Congress enacted legislation permitting extradition of a US national provided that all conditions of the extradition treaty are met. The likelihood of a United States citizen being extradited are incredibly unlikely.
What Should I Do If I Have an International Extradition Procedure Pending against Me?
You should consult a federal criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with extradition procedures and the treaty of the requesting country. If you are extradited from the US to another country, criminal penalties could be harsher. Consulting the right lawyer may positively influence the result of the extradition process pending against you.