JUNE 22, 2010

To extradite or not to extradite that is the question…

Having an interstate practice, we’re constantly confronted by extradition questions.  Extradition is when one State (i.e.Wisconsin) has issued a warrant and the accused is arrested or apprehended in another State (i.e. Michigan).

There is an interstate compact or agreement between states on extradition matters which standardizes the process.  The process however, takes a good deal of time to complete so the accused will generally be requested to “waive” extradition to the warrant state upon apprehension.

States cannot extradite for misdemeanors (minor crimes carrying less than one year jail as a maximum penalty)so what this generally means is that the warrant will remain on the books and if the accused is ever stopped in the warrant state then the accused will be arrested and held on the warrant.  In a State like Michigan this can be unusually cumbersome when the distance from Detroit to Gogebic County is 600 miles and the individual can be held in Detroit until transported back to Gogebic County which is a 12 to 14 hour drive.

If arrested on a Felony warrant from out of state, the accused has a right to the extradition process and cannot be transported to the warrant State even though the out of state county with the outstanding warrant may be just across the river from the State where the accused is lodged.  As you can see, the issue with extradition is court jurisdiction not distance.  If the accused waives extradition, they will be transported to the warrant state and county voluntarily, if they do not waive, then a Governor’s Warrant must issue from the Governor’s office of the warrant State directing the accused to be produced for transport to the warrant State through the Governor’s Warrant process in the State where the accused is held.

Why not simply waive extradition, since its going to happen anyway?  This question should be answered by a lawyer representing the accused (legal counsel for the accused is available to consult about extradition), as there may be situations that waiver is the best course.  I generally advise my clients, however, not to waive extradition too early in the process as they may be able to negotiate an exchange of a bail bond release from custody in exchange for the waiver.

As a General rule — Don’t waive any right when accused, unless you get something in return.  You must know what you are getting in exchange before you waive!!

JUNE 21, 2010

First of all a little shameless self-promotion!  A lot of what this firm is about is Criminal Defense work which I’ve been doing for the past 30 years (with a brief hiatus into prosecution and police instruction).  In doing this work, it’s difficult to keep from being cynical.   The only way that I have found to vent my frustration is to try to be proactive in this field by instructing any one who will listen how to act when their life is on the line and the police are breathing down their neck.

In order to do this, I speak to teenagers at schools and their parents in groups wherever I can.  An out growth of that exercise is my book “MCKENZIE’S WARNING”.

From time to time I may throw excerpts from the book on these pages and use these pages to help keep clients and prospective clients up to date on developments in the field, and things that frustrate me.  I hope you will find something here you can use.

BTW you can order the book from my publisher at www.biblioresource.com.

You can also find the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble by simply searching the title.