The New York City International Extradition Attorneys with Joseph Potashnik and Associates PLLC represent individuals in the United States and abroad who are subject to an international extradition request.

International extradition law is an extremely limited and difficult legal area that is essentially the cross of criminal and international laws. International extradition is the process of the surrender of an alleged criminal by one country to another at the request of the latter assuming the requesting country has jurisdiction over the case.

In most cases, the International Extradition process is controlled by extradition treaties between countries involved.

Avoiding the U.S. justice system may be a difficult task as the United States currently has extradition treaties in with over 100 countries making the world a very small place for a wanted person. When an individual?s surrender is requested by a country that has the extradition treaty with the U.S. may deliver the person to that country to face charges. Similarly, when the person is wanted in the United States, he or she can be surrendered to the Untied States to face charges in the court that has jurisdiction over the case.

Although an effective extradition treaty is required in most cases, some nations allow extradition without a treaty if there is an offer of reciprocity. Also, the the United States is allowed to extradite regardless of any treaties, foreign nationals in the U.S. custody who have committed violent crimes against U.S. nationals in foreign countries.

What is the procedure for requesting Extradition from a foreign country?

When local U.S. authorities seek a fugitive, the government is obligated by the Speedy Trial Act to attempt to locate the defendant?s whereabouts as soon as possible and seek extradition immediately. After the prosecutors locate the defendant, they contact the Office of International Affairs (OIA).

The Office of International Affairs? function is to provide information and advice to Federal and State prosecutors about the procedure for requesting extradition from abroad. Once the OIA receives and evaluates an extradition request, it will submit it to the U.S. Department of State. The local U.S. law enforcement officials are not authorized to contact foreign authorities directly.

The Department of State will send the extradition documents to the U.S. Embassy in the foreign country. The Embassy then will present the requests to the foreign ministry. The request and supporting documents are then sent to local foreign courts for determining whether the requirements of the treaty and the country’s domestic law have been met.

Who may be extradited?

There is no universal formula in deciding which case is extraditable. However, the following factors may be crucial in determining wither the prosecutors will seek extradition:

  • The fugitive?s current location
  • Availability of the extradition treaty
  • The citizenship of the fugitive. In case of dual citizenship, many countries will not extradite their own citizens
  • Crimes charged
  • Whether the fugitive has been indicted, convicted, or just wanted on a warrant.
  • Whether the case is triable. i.e., that the government is able to produce all necessary witnesses and evidence to secure conviction and that the nature of the case would justify the high costs involved in completing an extradition.

When the fugitive is non-extraditable for any reason and is not a national or lawful resident of the country in which he or she is located, the Department of State may ask that country to deport or expel the fugitive.

In addition, the 1992 Supreme Court ruling allows U.S. courts to try criminal defendants who were abducted from foreign countries by the US agents.

What Charges May Be Pressed After Extradition

Under normal circumstances, a fugitive who has been extradited may be prosecuted only for the particular offenses for which extradition was granted. When the extradited fugitive is charged with a crime for which the foreign country did not agree to surrender him or her, the Rule of Specialty can be used by the defense to dismiss the case or appeal the sentence.

Foreign Extradition Requests

Requests by foreign authorities for extradition of fugitives from the United States are processed in the similar fashion. A formal extradition request is submitted by the embassy of the requesting country to the Department of State, which forwards it to the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs. If the request is proper, the OIA will forward it to the local federal prosecutor?s office that will obtain the warrant and have the fugitive arrested.

If you are arrested on a foreign extradition request, the government will oppose bond because of the high flight risk. The federal district judge or magistrate will schedule a hearing under 18 U.S.C. ? 3184 to determine whether the fugitive is extraditable. If the court decides that the fugitive is extraditable, it will enter an order of extraditability and certify the record to the Secretary of State, who decides whether to surrender the fugitive to the requesting government.

At this stage, the order following the extradition hearing is not appealable. Defense will be limited to petitioning the court for a writ of habeas corpus as soon as the order is issued. This could be the only way to say extradition because the district court’s decision on the writ is subject to appeal, and the extradition may be stayed if the court so orders.

If you or someone you know face international extradition, call our international extradition defense attorneys in New York City immediately. We handle extradition cases in all major U.S. federal courts as well as in foreign countries.