Legal 101: What Is Extradition Hearing and How Can You Fight It?


Extradition is the process where a country or state hands over someone to another nation for purposes of criminal trial or punishment. Extraditions are regulated by treaties which often state how the process will take place. All treaties are governed by the doctrine of Specialty. Speciality means that the person is extradited cannot be charged for crimes that were not included in the extradition request. The treaties also have provisions that limit extradition in certain cases. In most cases, these treaties will prohibit extradition if the person being charged has committed a political offence.

What Happens During an Extradition?

Before an extradition request is granted, certain procedural rules must be followed. The state that wants the fugitive returned must make a request via the court.  The court will review the extradition request to determine if it is valid and then issue a warrant of arrest. There may be a couple of hearings to determine if the state will be able to extradite the criminal.

In addition, the United States Supreme Court has laid down rules and regulations on how to assess the extradition of a criminal. State courts must check whether the proper documents are in order, whether the person has been charged with a crime in the state requesting extradition and if the person being requested is the same person charged with a crime.

How to Fight Extradition

If you are trying to prevent the extradition of you or your loved one, the success of the case largely depends on some key concepts. The best way to fight extradition is to hire an experienced attorney to contest the extradition on your behalf. The defenses to extradition differ depending on whether the person is being subjected to an interstate or international extradition. A criminal defense attorney can help you avoid the complications involved in the process. Here are some common defenses to interstate extradition.

  • Improper Identification

One way of challenging extradition is through what is commonly known as an identification hearing. Identification hearing is usually the first proceeding that occurs when you’re arrested in one state and you are facing extradition to another. The hearing protects your rights by ensuring that you are the person the other state wants. The demanding state must prove this or their extradition request will not be granted.

  • Habeas Corpus Violations

A criminal defense attorney can request a hearing based on habeas corpus to test the legality of your arrest and confinement. When challenging extradition on habeas corpus, the lawyer will check whether:

  1. The proper documents are in order
  2. You have been charged with a crime in the demanding state
  3. You’re actually a fugitive
  4. You are the person named in the request

If any of the above statements do not apply to your case, the lawyer will notify the court so that your extradition request is not granted.

  • Probable Cause

Another way to prevent extradition is by challenging the arrest based on probable cause. This defense is commonly used when the demanding state has not convicted the alleged fugitive. If the demanding state cannot prove that you committed the charged crime, then their extradition request cannot be granted.

These are some of the most important details to know about extradition. It is important to note that extradition is a long complex process that should only be handled by an experienced criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can make the entire process easy to navigate and help you can avoid the long stays in jail.


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