What is Extradition?
Extradition is the legal process by which one state turns over a wanted criminal to another state. The reasons for which a person may be extradited include:
- commission of a crime,
- escape from imprisonment, or
- probation, parole, or bail violation.
There are two types of California extradition cases: extradition into California and extradition out of California. If you have been arrested in Los Angeles for a crime you committed in another state, you could be extradited back to that state. Likewise, if you have been arrested outside of California for a crime you committed in Los Angeles, you may be extradited back to Los Angeles. California Penal Code sections 1548-1558 regulate both types of extradition.
How California Extradition Works
The extradition process begins when a person (let's say John) is stopped by the police. A check of John's license turns up an out-of-state warrant (also known as a fugitive warrant) from another state (Texas). John is arrested and taken to jail where he will sit for several days without the ability to post bail. During this time, Texas is notified about John's arrest and is asked if they are coming to pick up John. If Texas says no, John will be released. If Texas says yes, they must hold him.
The Texas prosecutor will file a fugitive complaint against John. John is then sent to court to see the judge, hear the charges and enter a plea. John can deny the allegations in the complaint or waive formal extradition. If John waives formal extradition, he gives up his right to a formal hearing and will wait for the Texas Marshals to pick him up and return him to Texas. If John has an attorney, the attorney can request that John be allowed to post an extradition bond to guarantee his return to Texas to face his criminal proceedings. If John denies the allegation, he must return to court within 10 calendar days for an Identity Hearing wherein competent evidence must be presented confirming that John is actually the fugitive listed in the warrant. Failure to produce this evidence at the hearing will result in John's release.
If the court finds probable cause to believe that John is the same person named in the fugitive complaint, he will be returned to the county jail for 30 to 60 days to await the formal issuance of the Governor's warrant. During this time, the Texas prosecutor assembles all the required case documents and submits them to the Governor's office. The Texas Governor then files a formal demand to California's Governor. If Los Angeles is satisfied the request is valid, Los Angeles will hold John in order to surrender him to Texas authorities. Once the Governor's warrant is issued then it is just a matter of time before John will be picked up and returned to Texas. If Texas does not pick John up within a reasonable time period, he will be released.
How We Can Assist You When Facing Extradition
There are a number of ways we can assist you during the extradition process. Here are just some examples:
- We can challenge the identity procedures and documents that are provided by the other state that purport to identify the suspect;
- We can challenge the validity and completeness of the extradition documents provided to the local court in terms of mistakes, errors, defects and sufficiency;
- We can obtain the release of the person awaiting extradition by posting bail here in Los Angeles or in the other state;
- We can negotiate a reduction of the bail;
- We can attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor in the other state for an immediate release of the suspect on the promise that he will return to court in the immediate future;
- We may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to withdraw the extradition warrant upon completion of some outstanding obligation the suspect had in the other state, such as payment of a fine or outstanding child support.
Experienced Los Angeles Extradition Attorneys
Our criminal defense lawyers are experienced primarily in helping clients who are being held in Los Angeles county jail awaiting extradition to another state. We have successfully negotiated the release from custody of many of our clients awaiting extradition. With more than 50 years of combined criminal defense experience, we will evaluate your situation and provide you with practical legal options to your extradition dilemma.
Contact a Los Angeles extradition lawyer at our firm for a consultation.