In the last century international extradition has become a significant part of our criminal justice system here in the United States. With the increasing ease of transportation around the world, felons are able to flee the country and hide from the law overseas. Because of that our government has to find a way to get them back so they can be accounted for their actions. That is where extradition comes into play. Extradition treaties have been placed between countries so that if a felon flees to said country, if requested they will hand over the felon. With these treaties the U.S. government is able to retrieve these criminals much easier. While it is easier, requesting extradition is still a long and hard process, and not all countries have a treaty with the United States. Laws and methods have been made to try to help speed up this process, but then other issues come into light. The morality of international extradition is questioned when the government is able to repeatedly make requests where the felon is not able to appeal those requests. So while extradition helps out and speeds up the process of convicting fleeing felons, the methods that are used are not always seen at moral.
Every time it was mentioned to someone that this paper was going to be writing on international extradition the response was always the same; “What the heck is that?”. The general public does not know what extradition is, even though its always happening in the news. The public knows the fugitives that are being extradited, they read about what is going on in the news but they are unaware of the process.
Extraditing a Fugitive
International extradition is a vital part of the criminal justice system. As Johnston (2011) states, “extradition is the surrender by one nation to another of an individual accused or convicted of an offense outside of its own territory, and within the territorial jurisdiction of the other, which, being competent to try and punish him, demands the surrender” (p. 3). This applies to extradition between states in the country, but specifically international extradition allows the United States to retrieve a wanted felon from another country that they had fled to. Extradition treaties are held between the U.S. and certain countries so that this process can be upheld much easier. Not all countries have treaties with the U.S. so when a wanted felon flees the country they tend to go to these countries because they feel they are safe, which is a common misconception. While the lack of an extradition treaty with another country does indeed slow down the process of extraditing criminals, it does not make it impossible. There are multiple ways to still catch a fugitive if they are non-extraditable (Office of United States Attorneys [OUSA], 1997).
The most common way for the United States to extradite a fugitive from a foreign country is to send a formal request for the extradition process to begin. Federal prosecutors are...