Last Updated: 03.29.2023

Your favorite Baltimore Criminal lawyer has a fascinating guest post on interstate extradition. Written by blogger and bail recovery agent Jeff Yorke, of Bail Bonds Direct in California.

Understanding Interstate Extradition in the United States

Interstate extradition tends to be a straightforward affair. Thanks to a clause in the U.S. Constitution, states can legally request the extradition of a convicted criminal or suspect from any other state that an individual may be residing, hiding, or held.

The Extradition Clause, Article IV, Section II, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, states:

A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime.

The crime, or accused crime, can be irrelevant if state officials decide they want an individual back in their jurisdiction. But, there must be a reason for extradition within the state making the request. Including evidence, proof, or conviction of a previous or related crime committed.

The Interstate Extradition Process

Typically, in the initial step of an interstate extradition, a request may be made by a state’s attorney general or the AG’s office to the governor. The governor will make an official demand for extradition in the form of a warrant.

This governor’s warrant will contain information about the reasoning for the extradition. Once signed, it is delivered to the state where the individual at the center of the request is residing or held. That state generally has a period of 30 days to turn over said individual. Though the 30 day period can be variable depending on the circumstances. Although it can be extended another 60 days.

Can I Fight Interstate Extradition?

Requests for extradition are very rarely refused. But the individual facing extradition can contest the request and fight it in court. This contest is only in regard to the extradition. It has nothing to do with the criminal charges the person may face elsewhere.

Alternatively, the individual can waive extradition. In which he or she will be taken into custody and transferred to the state that made the request.

Limited reasons to fight extradition

Refusing extradition is normal on an international level. Especially for those accused of political crimes or those facing the death penalty. But interstate refusal is nearly unheard of. Since the Extradition Clause has existed, examples of one state refusing another’s request are very limited. One of the reasons for this, of course, is violating the U.S. Constitution or a governor’s warrant.

As recently as 2011, Rhode Island has refused to extradite a murder suspect. In this case not to another state, but to the federal government.

Then governor, Lincoln Chafee, refused the federal request of extradition for Jason Pleau. Pleau was a murder suspect. Chafee felt Pleau would face the possibility of the death penalty. Rhode Island does not practice the death penalty. However, despite the attempt, in mid-2012 Pleau was transferred to federal custody.

Baltimore Criminal lawyer: Bottom Line on Extradition

Refusing or fighting interstate extradition may be fruitful in very limited circumstances. But often, it only serves to prevent you from fighting your underlying case. Delaying the process. This may potentially inhibit your local lawyer from preparing a good defense to the underlying charges.

If you’re ever extradited out of Maryland and would like to talk to a lawyer, don’t hesitate to call your favorite Baltimore Criminal Lawyer!

The author of this article Jeff Yorke is a bail recovery agent and freelance writer. His favorite topics to write on involve all facets of law enforcement. Including bail bonds. When he’s not working, Jeff enjoys playing pickup football with his friends and maxing out at the gym.