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  • Writer's pictureMaddie Cohen

What Does Extradition Mean?

Certain crimes involve what is known as extradition.

Extradition is the transportation of a person from one place to another for criminal prosecution.

Consider the ongoing Idaho college quadruple murder case you’ve likely heard about. After his December 2022 arrest in Pennsylvania, the defendant waived his extradition rights and agreed to return to Idaho. Had he not waived those rights, he would have gone through a judicial extradition process before returning to the state where he allegedly committed the murders.

But what goes into extradition? Which crimes qualify for this process?

Keep reading this post to find out.

Extradition: A Definition

Extradition gives a state or country the authority to hand a defendant over to another state or country for trial. The criminal laws of the states (or countries) involved in the case determine which offenses qualify for extradition.

Federal law oversees certain parts of state extradition laws in the U.S. When another country is involved in the process, any treaties between the U.S. and the other nation involved will factor into the extradition outcome.

Curious about the origins of extradition? Article IV section 2 of the U.S. Constitution describes the state-to-state extradition process. Additional guidelines are found in the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA), which has been adopted by most U.S. states.

What Crimes Qualify for Extradition?

The crimes for which a person may be extradited tend to vary. More serious crimes will almost certainly result in immediate extradition.

These crimes include treason, felonies, and any other crime that involves fleeing from the authorities.

Common crimes that result in extradition include:

  • Kidnapping

  • Drug trafficking

  • Arson

  • Terrorism

  • Violent crimes

  • Espionage

  • Embezzlement

The state that has jurisdiction over the crime can request for the defendant’s extradition in a case. Having the right documentation is key—and an arrest must take place before a person can be extradited. The state courts will then decide whether an extradition order is necessary.

The defendant will be informed of all the relevant information during this process. This includes everything from details surrounding their extradition, to the criminal charges they face and their right to legal counsel.

As of 2010, Alaska, Hawaii, and Florida do not extradite for misdemeanor crimes.

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