The process of extradition occurs when a state orders the return of a fugitive who has crossed state lines in an effort to escape criminal charges, to avoid serving their sentence, or to seek asylum.
California’s “Uniform Criminal Extradition Act”
The extradition law in California is covered under Penal Code Section 50.34. In addition to this law, California is signatory to the “Uniform Criminal Extradition Act” whose guidelines for extradition many states have adopted. These two laws require that a person who has been arrested in another state be returned to face their criminal charges in California. The Extradition Clause of the U.S. Constitution covers state-to-state extradition.
Two Types of Extradition
Authorities may issue an extradition warrant, also known as “Governor’s Warrant,” under both the “Uniform Criminal Extradition Act” and the California Penal Code Section 50.34, in order for the fugitive to be arrested. There are two different types for extradition covering fugitives seeking asylum in another state.
1. The person is arrested in California for crime(s) occurring in another state. When this occurs, the person is arrested in California and is held until the extradition warrant from the other state is issued. The state that issues the extradition warrant is referred to as the “demanding” or “wanting” state, and it’s possible the wanted criminal, or fugitive, is not aware they’ve been accused in another state of committing a crime. If they are aware, they may have intentionally fled to California from the wanting state in order to seek asylum.
2. The person is arrested in another state and California issues an extradition warrant for them for a crime they’ve committed in California. The wanted person, or fugitive, may have jumped bail for a crime they committed, or are wanted for an offense, in California. They may have fled to the other state seeking asylum. In this type, California is the “home” or “demanding” state. As above, the wanted individual may or may not be aware they are wanted in California for a crime they committed.
Before an extradition warrant can be issued certain legal proceedings must occur to protect the wanted accused criminal as well as to make sure the extradition is valid.
First the court must decide if the person in custody is truly the person wanted in the extradition warrant. Depending on the circumstances of the case, an extradition waiver, called a “dismissal,” may apply at any point during the extradition proceedings. During this process the person remains in custody, and the process may take several weeks.
There are a number of different defenses that can be used to obtain an extradition waiver by a skilled criminal defense attorney, which includes:
- The documents the prosecutor filed lack validity
- The required “proof of identity” procedures for the extradition warrant is vague or incorrect
Once the extradition warrant is determined to be valid, the individual detained is then required to be return to the wanting state where they will face criminal charges.
Criminal Defense Attorneys
3555 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 297-2800