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Extradition is the surrender of an accused or convicted person by one state or to another.  In other words, it is the return of an accused to the place where s/he allegedly committed a crime to stand trial.  The object of extradition is to prevent the escape of persons accused of crime and to secure their return for the purpose of trial and punishment to the state from which they fled.  Extradition procedures are controlled primarily by federal statutes[i].

Mandatory extradition secures arrest and transfer only of those persons classified as fugitives.  A person is a fugitive when s/he commits a crime in the demanding state, subsequently leaves the demanding state, and thereafter resides in the asylum state[ii].  A federal court has the power to enforce the constitutional duty to extradite a fugitive.  The U.S. constitution imposes on the governor of each state a duty to surrender any fugitive from the justice of another state to that state upon proper request[iii].

There are certain requirements for an interstate extradition[iv].  They are:

  • An executive authority demands any person as a fugitive from justice of the jurisdiction to which such person has fled;
  • The requesting executive must produce a copy of an indictment found or an affidavit made before a magistrate of any state or territory;
  • Such document must charge the fugitive demanded with treason, felony, or other crime;
  • Such document must be certified as authentic by the governor or chief magistrate of the state or territory from where the person so charged has fled;
  • The executive receiving the request must then cause the fugitive to be arrested and secured, and notify the requesting executive authority or agent to receive the fugitive;
  • An agent of the executive of the state demanding extradition must appear to receive the prisoner, which must occur within thirty days from time of arrest or the prisoner may be released;
  • If no such agent appears within thirty days from the time of the arrest, then the prisoner may be discharged.

It is to be noted that, extraditable persons include persons who are charged with a crime but not yet tried, persons who are tried and convicted who have escaped custody, and such persons who have been convicted in absentia.

There are only four possible grounds for refusing to extradite a person[v]:

  • The extradition documents are not in order;
  • The person is not charged with a crime in the requesting state;
  • The person is not the person named in the extradition documents;
  • The person is not a fugitive.

[i] Loper v. Dees, 210 Miss. 402 (Miss. 1951).

[ii] Fullerton v. McCord, 339 Ark. 45 (Ark. 1999).

[iii] Alabama ex rel. Governor v. Engler, 85 F.3d 1205 (6th Cir. Mich. 1996).

[iv] 18 USCS § 3182.

[v] Alabama ex rel. Governor v. Engler, 85 F.3d 1205 (6th Cir. Mich. 1996).

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