Extradition: A Criminal Charge Can Follow You Out of (And Bring You Back to) Florida
A man accused of shooting an Orlando woman last month was found in New York. The Orlando Police Department is working with the Dunkirk Police Department and the U.S. Marshals to bring him back to Florida to face first-degree murder charges. Police believe Ruben Rodriguez shot one round into the victim’s car, hitting her in the neck and leading to her crashing near Washington Avenue.
Orlando police could not travel to New York to arrest the alleged shooter because the authority of law enforcement has jurisdictional limits, meaning they cannot arrest someone outside their own territory, with some exceptions. But, the Orlando police were able to work in cooperation with local police in Dunkirk to arrest Rodriguez and arrange for his return to Orlando to face criminal charges and possible Florida criminal consequences.
Extradition and the United States Constitution
Article IV, Section II, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, known as the Extradition Clause, reads as follows: “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 intent of this clause was to stop individuals charged with a crime in one state from fleeing to another state to avoid prosecution. If a state refuses to surrender an individual upon the request of the charging state, a federal court may order the surrender.
The United States Supreme Court has interpreted the Extradition Clause to apply to felony, misdemeanor and some petty offenses.
Extradition and Florida Law
Florida has adopted the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA), which sets out the process for requesting extradition of a criminal suspect from one state to another. Individuals who may be extradited to another state typically sit in jail until the extradition process is complete, but a Florida criminal defense attorney may be able to help you fight extradition and get you out of jail.
Requirements of the UCEA include:
- Issuance of a valid arrest warrant
- A formal, written request for extradition by the Governor
- An opportunity for a hearing for the accused as well as access to legal representation
- An option for the accused to waive the requirements of extradition
Once extradition has been approved or waived, the demanding state must take custody of the individual and transport him or her within 30 days. It is also possible to pursue extradition from one Florida county to another to compel an individual to face criminal charges against him or her.
Source: WDBO.com, “Shooting death suspect to be extradited to Orlando,” 6 October 2011