International Extradition Laws

Extradition laws give a nation the ability to hand over someone to another nation for purposes of criminal trial or punishment. A few years ago, drug king pin El Chapo was extradited from Mexico to the United States.  Whether someone can be extradited depends on the laws of the countries involved and whether there’s an extradition treaty in place. Extradition can also take place within the United States in a state-to-state extradition.

An extradition treaty is an agreement between two countries to extradite to each other persons who’ve been charged or found guilty of an extraditable offense. The United States has extradition treaties with more than 100 countries as well as with the European Union.

Extraditable offenses generally include crimes that are punishable in both countries by at least one-year imprisonment. These offenses include the attempt or conspiracy to commit an extraditable offense. Special inclusion for extraditable offenses are matters that involve taxes, custom duties, and foreign exchange offenses.

The treaties often exclude the extradition of a national of the requested state. For instance, the United States will not, in most cases, extradite one of its own citizens to another country. This non-extradition of a country’s own citizens explains why Roman Polanski was able to evade extradition. Polanski was convicted of having sexual intercourse with a 13 year-old in the United States, but he fled to France before sentencing. Since Mr. Polanski is a French citizen, France refused to extradite him.

There are other scenarios where extradition can be refused. Many nations may refuse to extradite people who may face torture or the death penalty in the requesting nation. For example, when serial killer Charles Ng fled to Canada after torturing, raping, and murdering at least 12 people, Canada struggled with whether or not to extradite Ng. They had abolished capital punishment and did not want to extradite someone who would be facing the death penalty in the country requesting extradition.

In the end, Canada decided to extradite him to California largely because they didn’t want to become a safe haven for murderers from the United States. Canada could have demanded that Ng would not face the death penalty, but they extradited him without such an assurance.

The extradition process is described in U.S. federal law (18 U.S.C. §3184). When the United States wants to extradite someone who is residing in a foreign country with an extradition treaty, a complaint is filed in any U.S. court stating the charges and the treaty requirements. A warrant for the persons apprehension will be prepared and given to the Secretary of State who will then contact the foreign government to begin the international extradition process.

The receiving nation then looks to its treaty obligations to the requesting nation and to its own laws on extradition, and decides whether or not to extradite. Many nations do not extradite individuals for certain political crimes. These can include treason, sedition, espionage and alleged crimes relating to criticism of political leaders.

In countries with no extradition treaty with the United States, it’s still possible to extradite someone. In these cases, the United States must negotiate with the non-extradition treaty country, but they can say no.

For instance, Edward Snowden faced theft and espionage charges in the United States for disclosing classified information, but fled to Russia. There’s no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Russia which, in effect, shielded him from prosecution.

This is also what happened with Julian Assange, who’d taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Ecuador does not have an extradition treaty with the United States and had refused to surrender him to U.S. authorities. Conceivably, Assange could have remained in the embassy until his death, but Ecuador became unhappy with his behavior and withdrew its asylum prior to his arrest by London police.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

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Fair Trials Explained

The term “fair trial” is often discussed as a necessary element to ensure that justice prevails in society. Although the American criminal justice system is intended to provide a criminal defendant with a fair trial, it can be difficult to ascertain what this means in practice. To answer the question “what is a fair trial?” it’s important to understand that the concepts of fairness are primarily established by constitutional protections.

The U.S. Constitution Bill of Rights (under the Sixth Amendment) guarantees the right to a speedy trial with an impartial jury for criminal defendants in federal courts. The 14th Amendment’s Due Process clause extends these rights to state courts.

While the Constitution expressly outlines the right to a jury trial, it doesn’t explicitly include the right to a “fair trial.” However, in guaranteeing other trial rights, the Constitution provides the safeguards for a fair trial. Such rights include: 1) The right to an impartial jury; 2) The right to due process of law; 3) The right to confront/call witnesses; and 4) The right to legal counsel.

When any of these rights are violated, it can lead to the determination that a trial was unfair and can result in the reversal of a verdict or the granting of a new trial.

A criminal defendant is entitled to have a trial with an impartial jury of their peers. The specific meaning of “impartial jury” isn’t defined in the Constitution; rather, it was established via tradition and case law and has evolved over time. Generally, it refers to jurors not having a stake in the outcome of the case and not approaching the case with any bias against the defendant.

Part of the “impartiality” of jurors has also been tied to having twelve jurors, although the Supreme Court suggests that this specific number is a “historical accident” and less of a strict requirement. However, because of the tradition and reliability of having a jury of twelve, it certainly contributes to the appearance of fairness in a criminal trial.

The connection between media and the judicial system can also factor into a jury’s impartiality. While a media presence in courtrooms can threaten judicial fairness in general, it can have an especially troublesome impact on securing a jury who doesn’t have a bias or prejudice against a defendant shaped by media reporting.

The right to due process prevents the government from arbitrarily infringing on an individual’s rights without some type of formal procedure. This is a broad area because due process includes many different rights and requires the government to respect the legal rights that the defendant is owed. In the context of criminal trials, the Supreme Court has found that a denial of due process occurs when there’s an absence of fairness such that it “fatally inflicts the trial.” For example, when the accused is compelled to appear before the jury clothed in prison garb because the appearance in that attire might damage the accused’s presumption of innocence with the jurors.

The U.S. Constitution gives criminal defendants the right to confront their witnesses and cross-examine them, but it also gives them the right to present evidence and call witnesses who support their case. Sometimes there’s a conflict between infringing on the rights of the accused and following the rules of evidence or trial procedure. For example, a defendant may be denied the ability to present testimony of witnesses about matters that were revealed out of court on hearsay grounds, but the Supreme Court ruled that this could constitute a denial of the defendant’s rights.

Anyone facing criminal charges has the right to legal counsel. This means that they can contact an attorney to find out about their rights and to have the attorney represent their legal interests. Not only does the defendant have a right to have an attorney, but also the right to an adequate defense. An attorney can fail in their duties by not providing representation that is sufficient to ensure a fair trial, like failing to present exculpatory evidence or being under the influence during trial.

Fair trials are an essential part of the U.S. judicial system that help to prevent miscarriages of justice. After contemplating what constitutes a fair trial, you may still have important questions about how the law impacts you or someone you know who’s facing charges. Contact a local criminal defense attorney today for helpful insight.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

Extradition Laws and Procedure

Fleeing from one state to another does not necessarily mean that a criminal will evade punishment if  he or she were to be caught. States and the federal government can seek to bring state-hopping criminals to justice through a process called extradition. Extradition laws give a state the ability to hand someone over to another state for purposes of criminal trial or punishment.

Extradition can occur between two states or between two countries. Both operate under similar principles, but the processes and procedures are different. This article focuses on extradition between states and will cover its legal basis, the applicable process, and what defenses may be available to prevent extradition.

Within the United States, federal law governs extradition from one state to another. The Extradition Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article IV Section 2) requires that:

A person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

In addition to the Constitution, federal law (18 U.S.C § 3182) provides requirements for extradition. Requirements and guidelines can also be found in the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA). The UCEA is not mandatory and not all states have adopted it. States that haven’t adopted the UCEA have their own extradition laws that comply with the federal statute.

Whether or not a state has adopted the UCEA, the extradition process will be similar. The process begins when there’s probable cause to issue an out-of-state arrest warrant. Typically this occurs when a person fails to show up for a court date or if there’s reason to believe the person has fled.

When the out of state warrant is issued, the information is entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), a nationwide database that law enforcement uses to access warrant information in other states. If the person sought is arrested in the new state, the arresting authorities will notify the first state that issued the warrant. For instance, if a crime is committed in California, and the person flees to New York, the New York police will be able to see the California arrest warrant and will notify California of an arrest in New York.

The original state may make a request for the return of the fugitive, but they don’t always do so. If the crime is a misdemeanor or something other than a violent felony, there may be no request for return. However, if such a request is made, the fugitive has the option of waiving extradition or attempting to fight extradition through a writ of habeas corpus.

If the fugitive refuses to waive extradition, the original state prepares a request to have the fugitive returned. Extradition requests are made from the office of one state’s governor to the other. If the request is approved by both governors, an extradition hearing will be held and a court in the state with the fugitive will make a decision to grant or deny extradition.

States, in deciding whether to extradite, generally may not go into the underlying charge behind an extradition request. However, the U.S. Constitution (Sixth Amendment) requires the accused “be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.” This means that states will inform the fugitive of: 1) the extradition request; 2) the underlying criminal charge; and 3) the individual’s right to seek legal counsel.

Once the request for extradition has been granted, the fugitive will be offered to the demanding state. The fugitive can still fight extradition by filing a writ of a habeas corpus. If the habeas corpus petition is denied, the original state will make arrangements to transport them back to the demanding state. If the habeas corpus petition is granted, the fugitive will be released.

There are not many defenses to extradition. As long as the process and procedure found in the U.S. Constitution and federal law have been followed, the fugitive must be surrendered to the demanding state. However, there are a few defenses that have been identified by the Supreme Court, such as: 1) whether the extradition request documents are in order; 2) whether the person has been charged with a crime in the demanding state; 3) whether the person named in the extradition request is the person charged with the crime; and 4) whether the petitioner is, in fact, a fugitive from the requesting state.

If the fugitive’s petition or writ for habeas corpus is unsuccessful, the arresting state must hold them for the demanding state. The demanding state then has 30 days to retrieve the fugitive. If they do not, the arresting state may release them.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

What is a “Fair Trial”?

The term “fair trial” is often discussed as a necessary element to ensure that justice prevails in society. Although the American criminal justice system is intended to provide a criminal defendant with a fair trial, it can be difficult to ascertain what this means in practice. To answer the question “what is a fair trial?” it’s important to understand that the concepts of fairness are primarily established by constitutional protections.

The U.S. Constitution Bill of Rights (under the Sixth Amendment) guarantees the right to a speedy trial with an impartial jury for criminal defendants in federal courts. The 14th Amendment’s Due Process clause extends these rights to state courts.

While the Constitution expressly outlines the right to a jury trial, it doesn’t explicitly include the right to a “fair trial.” However, in guaranteeing other trial rights, the Constitution provides the safeguards for a fair trial. Such rights include: 1) The right to an impartial jury; 2) The right to due process of law; 3) The right to confront/call witnesses; and 4) The right to legal counsel.

When any of these rights are violated, it can lead to the determination that a trial was unfair and can result in the reversal of a verdict or the granting of a new trial.

A criminal defendant is entitled to have a trial with an impartial jury of their peers. The specific meaning of “impartial jury” isn’t defined in the Constitution; rather, it was established via tradition and case law and has evolved over time. Generally, it refers to jurors not having a stake in the outcome of the case and not approaching the case with any bias against the defendant.

Part of the “impartiality” of jurors has also been tied to having twelve jurors, although the Supreme Court suggests that this specific number is a “historical accident” and less of a strict requirement. However, because of the tradition and reliability of having a jury of twelve, it certainly contributes to the appearance of fairness in a criminal trial.

The connection between media and the judicial system can also factor into a jury’s impartiality. While a media presence in courtrooms can threaten judicial fairness in general, it can have an especially troublesome impact on securing a jury who doesn’t have a bias or prejudice against a defendant shaped by media reporting.

The right to due process prevents the government from arbitrarily infringing on an individual’s rights without some type of formal procedure. This is a broad area because due process includes many different rights and requires the government to respect the legal rights that the defendant is owed. In the context of criminal trials, the Supreme Court has found that a denial of due process occurs when there’s an absence of fairness such that it “fatally inflicts the trial.” For example, when the accused is compelled to appear before the jury clothed in prison garb because the appearance in that attire might damage the accused’s presumption of innocence with the jurors.

The U.S. Constitution gives criminal defendants the right to confront their witnesses and cross-examine them, but it also gives them the right to present evidence and call witnesses who support their case. Sometimes there’s a conflict between infringing on the rights of the accused and following the rules of evidence or trial procedure. For example, a defendant may be denied the ability to present testimony of witnesses about matters that were revealed out of court on hearsay grounds, but the Supreme Court ruled that this could constitute a denial of the defendant’s rights.

Anyone facing criminal charges has the right to legal counsel. This means that they can contact an attorney to find out about their rights and to have the attorney represent their legal interests. Not only does the defendant have a right to have an attorney, but also the right to an adequate defense. An attorney can fail in their duties by not providing representation that is sufficient to ensure a fair trial, like failing to present exculpatory evidence or being under the influence during trial.

Fair trials are an essential part of the U.S. judicial system that help to prevent miscarriages of justice. After contemplating what constitutes a fair trial, you may still have important questions about how the law impacts you or someone you know who’s facing charges. Contact a local criminal defense attorney today for helpful insight.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.