Extradition Proceedings

In an extradition proceeding, a fugitive is subjected to speedy or summary trial.  Extradition procedure is often characterized as a summary, executive procedure[i].  Extradition procedures are regulated by federal statutes.  According to 18 USCS § 3182, the executive authority of a state to which a fugitive who is accused of treason, felony, or other crime has fled, must arrest such person.  In order to arrest, the executive authority of a state from which a fugitive has escaped must satisfy the following two conditions:

  • must demand a fugitive who has fled from the justice of a state’s executive authority[ii]; and
  • must produce a copy of an affidavit executed before a magistrate or an indictment found with charge of treason, felony, or any other committed crime.

A state must strictly follow the procedure of extradition.  Subsequent to arrest, a notice will be served upon a state’s demanding authority.  A fugitive will then be delivered to an agent appointed by the demanding authority to receive a fugitive.  In the absence of an agent, an arrested fugitive will be discharged.  A state cannot ask a bail bondman to receive a fugitive and return him/her to a state’s demanding authority[iii].

On failure by any state to return a criminal, the federal court’s jurisdiction can be invoked.  A federal court can demand a state to perform its constitutional duty to arrest and surrender a criminal[iv].

Extradition proceedings help in:

  • determining whether an individual who is arrested in the U.S. must be surrendered to a requesting country;
  • confirming whether a crime alleged by a demanding state is included in the extradition agreement between the U.S. and that country;
  • in the absence of a treaty, determining whether a warrant may be issued to a person charged with a crime; and
  • determining if a person should be arrested based on sufficient evidence available and sustain such person until a foreign government makes a demand.

The procedure to be adopted while arresting a fugitive who has fled to the U S. depends on the extradition treaty.  Extradition proceedings can be instituted even after many years of escaping by a fugitive.  The initiation of an extradition procedure is completely at the discretion of a state.

The demanding authority of a state must pay the cost and expenses incurred for an extradition proceeding[v].  Expenses that are incurred in an extradition proceeding are paid according to the methods that are prescribed by state law.  However, the expense charged by an asylum country must be reasonable.

[i] United States ex rel. McInery v. Shelley, 524 F. Supp. 499 (N.D. Ill. 1981).

[ii] Fitzpatrick v. Williams, 46 F.2d 40 (5th Cir. La. 1931).

[iii] Cramblit v. Fikse, 1992 U.S. App. LEXIS 28343 (6th Cir. Oct. 23, 1992).

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

[v] People ex rel. Westbrook v. O’Neill, 378 Ill. 324 (Ill. 1941).


Inside Extradition Proceedings