Monday, July 11, 2011

'IM WANTED IN ANOTHER STATE!": THE LAW OF EXTRADITION

Things went sour in the state where you lived. You got into a little trouble with the law, so you came to Illinois. Now the Governor of your old state is asking Illinois to return you for trial on the charges you left behind.

What is extradition? What are your rights?

Extradition is the process in which another state can demand that Illinois return you for trial if you fled from justice after you were charged with treason, felony or some other crime. (725 Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) 225/2.) Fleeing justice may mean that you left the state after you were charged with a crime, violated bail or probation or escaped from jail.

Extradition is a two-way street. Perhaps you committed a crime in Illinois, and then left to escape punishment. The Illinois Governor also has the right to demand your return.

For extradition, the demanding state must meet certain legal requirements. The demand must show that you were present in the demanding state when the crime was committed except you need not have been present if your actions in Illinois intentionally resulted in a crime within the demanding state’s borders. (725 ILCS 225/3 and /6.) In other words, if you ran a conspiracy from Illinois to embezzle funds and the actual crime took place in Missouri, Missouri could still demand extradition even though you never set foot in Missouri.

Except as above, the extradition demand must show that you fled the state and must contain either 1) an affidavit from the other state’s judge along with a copy of the document charging you with a crime, or 2) a judge’s affidavit along with a copy of the arrest warrant. If you fled after conviction, the demanding state must provide a copy of your conviction or sentence along with a statement that you escaped jail or violated your bail, probation or parole. (725 ILCS 225/3.)

Any demand must “substantially charge” you with having committed a crime under the other state’s laws. However, this does not mean that an Illinois judge can look into whether the demanding state has probable cause to arrest you.

If the Illinois governor decides to grant extradition, the governor can have an arrest warrant issued. A judge can also issue a warrant on the oath of any credible person. The arrest can be made without a warrant, however, upon reasonable information that you are accused in another state, but you must then be speedily brought before a judge.

If you are facing extradition, you have certain rights. You must be taken before a judge and informed of the demand for surrender and the charges against you. You have a right to an attorney. You may also apply for habeas corpus relief. This means that you can request a hearing to the test the legality of your arrest. (725 ILCS 225/10.) You may also appeal any Court order.

A judge may keep you in jail pending your return to the demanding state. However, the judge may also allow you to post bail provided the charges against you are not punishable by death or life imprisonment.

If you are facing extradition either into or out of Illinois, you are best advised to consult an experienced attorney as the rules can be very tricky. An attorney can help make sure the rules are followed, file petitions to test the legality of your arrest where necessary and argue for your release on bail.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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