EXTRADITION AND HOW IT WORKS
If a prosecutor seeks to charge you with a crime in Massachusetts state courts or in U.S. federal court, but you are not living in Massachusetts or the U.S., you will face extradition proceedings. Within the U.S., extradition is assured between one state and another. Extradition from a foreign country depends upon U.S. treaties with the country in which you live.
Extradition is the surrender of a person alleged to have committed a crime in one country by the country in which that person presently is located. The purpose of extradition is to prevent nations from becoming safe havens for fugitives and criminals from other nations. If you are faced with the possibility of extradition, you should consult attorneys at Dhar Law, LLP experienced at handling extradition hearings.
Before a person may be extradited from one country to another, generally there must be a treaty that allows for the extradition between the two countries. More than 100 countries have extradition treaties with the U.S. Some treaties set out the specific offenses for which extradition may be ordered. Many of the extradition treaties signed by the U.S. require that the offense be a crime in both the U.S. and the country making the request.
In the U.S., requests for extradition are handled by the Department of State and the Justice Department. A federal or state prosecutor who wishes to have a person extradited from a foreign nation makes a request to the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs. That office forward the request to the Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser. The legal adviser forward the request to the U.S. diplomatic representatives in the appropriate country, who then present the request to the foreign government. The foreign government, if it decides to honor the extradition request, is responsible for taking the person into custody and turning him or her over to U.S. authorities.
UNPARALELLED EXPERIENCE WITH EXTRADITION CASES
The experienced extradition attorneys can help at two stages of the extradition process: in your home nation working alongside your local counsel to prevent extradition when that is possible, and at your side in U.S. criminal courts providing a strong defense.
Not every lawyer has the experience and knowledge to handle extradition matters, especially when they involve international law. Working with an inexperienced lawyer in these matters could result in greater fines and more time in prison. Do not take risks with your freedom and your future.
The attorneys at Dhar Law, LLP have proven time and again their capacity to successfully handle complex, high-profile international criminal cases. Our record is one that few can match: representing high-profile government officials, drug kingpins, and narcotraffickers facing extradition and in criminal courts in Massachusetts and other states.
If you have been arrested or even questioned in an investigation, it is important to contact our offices as soon as possible for a free consultation.
EXTRADITION FROM THE U.S. TO OTHER COUNTRIES
When a foreign government seeks to have a person extradited from the U.S., the country will direct its embassy in Washington, D.C., to make the extradition request to the Department of State. The Department of State will then forward the request to the Justice Department, who asks the U.S. attorney for the district in which the person is located to initiate extradition proceedings in the appropriate federal court.
The court will review the evidence against the suspect and if it is sufficient, issue a warrant for the person’s arrest. If the court determines that there is probable cause to believe that the person committed an offense covered by the extradition treaty (not that the person is guilty, but only that there is reason to believe he or she is guilty), the court will submit its recommendation to the U.S. Department of State, which will then make the final determination whether to extradite the suspect.
LIMITS ON EXTRADITION
There are important limits on extradition, including:
- Not all nations will extradite their citizens to another country for prosecution, such as Venezuela, France and Israel;
- Some countries refuse to extradite to the U.S. if there is a chance the death penalty will be imposed;
- Most countries will not extradite if the offense is considered a political crime or for other reasons stipulated in the extradition treaty such as military offenses, like desertion;
- Many treaties contain provisions that prevent extradition if the person has already been tried and either convicted or acquitted of the crime;
- Countries may also refuse to extradite on humanitarian or foreign policy grounds
Additionally, most extradition treaties contain a provision known as the “rule of specialty.” This rule provides that a person who has been extradited may be prosecuted only for the offense listed in the extradition request. The rule is to ensure that a person is not extradited on a pretext, only to be prosecuted for an offense for which extradition may not be allowed. The rule of specialty may be waived by the nation from which a person is extradited.
CALL 617-880-6155 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Dhar Law, LLP represents clients in serious white-collar crime cases (money laundering, corruption, tax evasion), weapons trafficking cases for illegal arms sales, and international drug trafficking and smuggling/importation cases.
We represent foreign nationals from Central and South America — Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Dominican Republic — as well as U.S. citizens facing extradition to a foreign country. We maintain a Spanish-speaking staff that accompany us on trips to meet with and defend clients in South America.The important first step is to schedule a consultation so we can review the facts of your case and recommend an effective course of action. Call 617-880-6155 or use our online contact form to schedule a meeting with our extradition attorneys in Boston.