Extradition is a process by which one country surrenders an individual to another country for prosecution or punishment. It is an essential tool in fighting transnational crime, terrorism, and other offenses that threaten public safety. The United States has extradition treaties with over 100 countries, and the process can be both lengthy and complex.
For those accused of committing a crime outside the United States, extradition is a critical step in the legal process. When seeking representation in extradition cases, it is essential to choose a qualified attorney with experience in this intricate area of international law.
Generally, extradition treaties provide for the extradition of persons who have been accused or convicted of certain offenses, such as murder, kidnapping, or drug trafficking. These treaties each have specific requirements, including the types of offenses that can trigger extradition, the evidence required to support a request, and the procedures for processing the request. The exceptions to extradition can also vary by country, and it’s important to review the specific treaty that applies in each case.
When a foreign country seeks to extradite an individual from the United States, the process typically begins with a request for provisional arrest. This allows the foreign country to detain the individual for a limited time while the extradition request is being processed. The foreign country must then submit a formal extradition request, along with evidence supporting the charges, to the U.S. Department of State, which reviews the request and forwards it to the Department of Justice.
Both agencies will then evaluate the request to determine if it meets the requirements of the applicable treaty and the U.S. legal standards for extradition. If the Department of Justice and the State Department both agree to approve the request, the case proceeds to a federal court hearing, where the individual has the right to contest extradition. The court will evaluate the evidence presented and determine whether the individual should be surrendered to the foreign country.
The individual who is the subject of the extradition request has the right to challenge extradition by presenting evidence that the request is not properly supported or that the offenses charged are not covered by the treaty. The individual can also argue that extradition would violate their rights under U.S. law, such as the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
The best defense to a request for extradition will vary depending on the nature of the accusation, the country making the request, and the terms of that country’s extradition treaty with the U.S. For example, many extradition treaties have exceptions for crimes or accusations that are non-violent and political in nature. Defenses commonly raised in extradition cases also include challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence and claims of a lack of due process in the requesting country.
This is merely an overview of common extradition practices. In reality, each extradition case is unique and often involves a lengthy process with multiple legal and diplomatic steps. Experienced legal representation is critical in international extradition cases, and creative advocacy is often required to secure favorable outcomes for individuals facing potential extradition.
For more than 30 years, attorney Jonathan Minkus has been helping people who are accused of a crime, with extensive experience in complicated cases involving immigration and extradition matters. If you are facing a request for extradition, do not delay in seeking legal guidance. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus today to learn more about how we can help.
Senior Partner Jonathan Minkus has successfully defended individuals charged with every conceivable criminal offense, from traffic misdemeanors to death-penalty eligible homicides.