Interstate Extradition Laws | Us Warrants

Interstate Extradition Laws

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Extradition laws have been around for a long time in the United States. A careful look at the United States Constitution will reveal that there is a clause within the Constitution that is referred to as the Extradition Clause.

The Extradition Clause

 Article IV, Section II, Clause 2 of the Constitution is known as the Extradition Clause. It reads as follows: “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.” What that clause meant to our founding fathers then and what it means now is that a person cannot commit a crime in one state and run across state lines to avoid being tried for his or her crime.

Interstate Extradition Laws in Action 

The interstate extradition laws allow the governor and/or the Prosecutor to request that a person who has fled to another state to avoid prosecution be returned to the state where he or she committed a crime. Extradition laws add substance and credence to the old adage “You can run but you sure cannot hide.”

Uniform Criminal Extradition Act

 Sometime after the Constitution was made effective in 1787 the legislative body felt a need for uniformity in the extradition process, hence the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA) was enacted. Forty-eight of the fifty states have adopted the UCEA. The two states that did not the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act are South Carolina and Missouri.

Extradition: The List of Requirements 

The UCEA sets out requirements that must be met for extradition. The requirements are as follows:

  • There must be a valid warrant for arrest issued by the state that wants the criminal extradited
  • The request must come from the Executive Officer (the Governor)or other Chief Executive or Judicial Officer of the requesting state.
  • There must be a judicial hearing in the state that currently has custody of the person who is the subject of the extradition.
  • There must be a provision whereby the wanted person can waive extradition or there must be a finding by the court that the Governor’s request is legally sound if extradition is not waived.
  • Also, the custodial state must surrender the person who is the subject of the extradition to the state that requested extradition within 30 days.

The Extradition of Fugitives Clause

 If a wanted person decides to fight extradition he or she will usually have an uphill battle because the governor of the requesting state can issue what is called a Governor’s Warrant and the wanted person will more than likely have to be returned to the state in which the crime was committed. One reason that you will more than likely be extradited is that the United States has a law called the Extradition of Fugitives Clause that governs extradition between the states. Simply put this law states that a person will be returned to the state where he or she committed the crime.

The Uphill Battle of Fighting Extradition 

Even though it is difficult to fight extradition it is not impossible but you have to have very, very good reasons to win your fight against extradition. There are usually only two good reasons to fight extradition and those reasons are 1. There has been a mistake in identity; you are not the person that is the subject of the extradition and 2. That the arrest warrant is invalid because it is missing a key element such as probable cause or a sworn oath made by the police.

The Scope of an Extradition Hearing

 Finally if a person requests and is granted an extradition hearing, the arguments made should only concern the facts that directly impact extradition. The extradition hearing is not the forum to address whether the person is actually guilty of the alleged crime.

Advisable Actions for Those Facing Extradition 

If at all possible the best course of action for a person who is facing extradition is to hire an attorney and the next best course of action is to keep his or her mouth shut if he or she cannot have legal representation. Just as the Miranda warning states anything you say can and will be used against you. Therefore, it is best only to provide the minimum requested information in an extradition hearing; name, address and other identifying information to prove that you are not the person who is the subject of the arrest warrant and extradition demand