Generally, extradition documents present a demand for a fugitive’s return. A demand is essential to distinguish extradition from the unilateral act of deporting aliens[i]. A formal requisition or demand for the fugitive is not mandatory. Extradition proceedings can be initiated by any authorized person or officer of the government by a sworn complaint.
Extradition documents include[ii]:
- a request or demand by the governor of a requesting state;
- indictment or an affidavit made before a magistrate; and
- the governor’s authenticity certificate.
An asylum state will not question an indictment document or affidavit’s sufficiency. A reasonable presumption as to the sufficiency of an instrument containing the charge will be taken by the asylum state if the charge made against the fugitive is sought legally and if the charge constitutes a crime.
A demanding state governor’s request or demand need not show that a prosecutor’s name has been endorsed on the back of an indictment. It is also not mandatory that an indictment should is signed by a proper prosecuting officer[iii].
Similarly, a failure to specifically state in an indictment or affidavit that the acts done resulted in a crime in the demanding state will not affect the validity of an extradition document if such an allegation is included in the governor’s demand and the prosecutor’s application.
An asylum state upon receiving an extradition request will examine the substance of the charges contained in the request. After that, the asylum state will determine whether extradition should be granted or not. Extradition will be granted only for those offenses that are included in an extradition treaty[iv].
A requesting state must show with the help of an extradition document that the fugitive committed the charged offense. However, the offense need not be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
A governor’s warrant issued in an extradition proceeding is presumed to be valid and regular in all respects. It is a petitioner’s duty to overcome the prima facie case made in a warrant[v].
[i] Sandhu v. Reno, 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 24130 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 9, 1996).
[ii] Young v. Stoutamire, 129 Fla. 805 (Fla. 1937).
[iii] People ex rel. Kaufman v. O’Brien, 197 Misc. 1019 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1950).
[iv] Abbas v. Dep’t of Homeland Sec., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72410 (W.D. La. July 21, 2009).
[v] King v. Hawes, 224 Kan. 335 (Kan. 1978).