Extradition: What Is It and Should You Fight It?
One of two men accused of killing Dr. Teresa Sievers waived extradition in Jefferson County, Missouri and will return to Lee County, Florida to face second-degree murder charges. This waiver of extradition comes about a month after the man’s attorney indicated he would fight extradition to Florida. The waiver of extradition effectively opens the door to allow Florida to come and take custody of the man once he has finished serving the sentences he received for crimes committed in Missouri.
What is Extradition?
Extradition refers to the legal process whereby one state is permitted to retrieve a criminal defendant with charges filed against him in that state from the physical custody of another state. For example, if defendant is charged in State A and a warrant is issued for his arrest, State B can arrest the defendant on that warrant if State B finds defendant within their jurisdiction. Before State B will turn defendant over to State A, there must either be an extradition hearing or defendant must waive his right to an extradition hearing.
At an extradition hearing, defendant would have a limited opportunity to challenge State A’s ability to extradite him or her to their jurisdiction. He or she may have the assistance of legal counsel during this hearing. Defendant cannot challenge the sufficiency of State A’s evidence in State B; instead, he or she may challenge the requested extradition on the following grounds:
- The extradition paperwork does not comply with legal requirements;
- Defendant has not been charged with a crime in the requesting state;
- Defendant is not the person named in the extradition paperwork;
- Defendant is not a “fugitive”; and/or
- Defendant is serving time in State B for an offense committed there (this is not technically a “defense” to extradition but may result in the delay of extradition until the sentence in State B is served).
If defendant waives extradition, he or she is giving up the right to challenge the extradition request and instead permitting State A to come and take him or her into its custody. Defendant would then return to State A to face the charges with which he or she is charged.
Should You Fight Extradition?
Whether you contest extradition to a requesting state should be decided after speaking with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney. Where you and your attorney determine that you do not have any basis for challenging the extradition request, or where you are eager to return to the requesting state to take care of your legal matters, waiving your extradition hearing may make sense. Otherwise, it may be more beneficial for you to fight the extradition request.
Seek Help from a Miami Criminal Defense Attorney
Miami criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner is knowledgeable concerning the extradition process and the laws that govern this process. He can ensure your rights are protected and that you are not subject to an unlawful extradition. If you are being held in Florida on an extradition request from another state, contact the law office of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. today for assistance by calling (305) 670-9919.