International Extradition

Extradition to the United States or Another Country

Judge hitting gavel at an international extradition trial.

International extradition comes into play where an individual deemed to be a fugitive from justice is being sought by the United States or another country. Various extradition treaties and federal laws govern the process of extradition between countries. According to 18 U.S.C. §3184 of US law, a person may only be extradited where an extradition treaty exists between the United States and the foreign power. The Criminal Division of the Office of International Affairs (OIA) lists the countries that have established extradition treaties with the United States and this includes jurisdictions like Mexico, Canada, Australia, India, Brazil, China and Israel. It should be kept in mind that even where a demand to extradite involves a country without a treaty with the USA, a country may extradite the defendant where he is alleged to have committed a crime of violence against United States citizens.

The starting point in the process of International Extradition is customarily consultation between authorities in the United States and the Office of International Affairs. Once a US official (e.g. prosecutor) has consulted with the Office of International Affairs and the fugitive is in custody, arrangements to surrender the defendant to the American Embassy are undertaken. Agents of the United States Marshals Service thereafter escort the fugitive back to the country. The INS must then issue a “parole letter” which authorizes the fugitive to enter the country if he or she is not a U.S. citizen.

There are defenses for fighting extradition that may be introduced during the aforesaid process in order to spot a suspect from being extradited to the United States. The more common objections to a international demand to extradite include the fugitive is a national of the country of retreat, the crime is not extraditable, or the statute of limitations has run on the charges or offense(s). There may also be personal reasons that limit the fugitive’s ability to travel including medical conditions or family obligations, which may assist in delaying and/or preventing New Jersey extradition. It must also be kept in mind that, in rare situations, a foreign nation may undertake its own prosecution—something that may be less favorable to being subjected to US prosecution. Another important consideration in this process is whether a Extradition Waiver should be executed.

What should be clear from this brief explanation is that the extradition laws and the process of extradition, are all complex subject matters that require the assistance of an attorney experienced in international extradition. If you are seeking information or representation because of a demand to extradite from a foreign country and/or the United States government, a lawyer with a thorough understanding of your legal rights and defenses is an absolute must. The attorneys on our defense team possess this expertise and are prepared to come to your aid. Lawyers are available immediately 24/7 at 1-877-450-8301.