Extradition is the removal of a person from a requested state to a requesting state for criminal prosecution or punishment. Put differently, to extradite is to surrender, or obtain surrender of, a fugitive from one jurisdiction to another. see, e.g. United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 504 US 655 (1992), and In the matter of Morris Strauss, 197 US 324 (1905).
Extradition procedures are normally determined by reciprocal agreements between countries or by multilaterial agreements between a group of countries. The European Union, for example, shares a system of extradition laws. In most jurisdictions, extradition will be granted only if the alleged crime is also against the law in the requested country. Most countries also have a "political-offense exception," meaning that purely political crimes--such as vote tampering, or defaming a politicians--will not be extraditable. Some countries also have a double-jeopardy exception, refusing to grant extradition when the individual has already been tried for the crime at issue.
Extradition under American law
The constitutional basis for state-to-state extradition is found in the Extradition Clause, Article IV section 2 of the US Constitution. The statute implementing extradition is Title 18, Sect. 3182 of the US Code. Further extradition guidelines are to be found in the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, adopted in many states.
Not surprisingly, extradition is an important and sensitive issue between sovereigns. It can be particularly controversial when the accused is removed to a jurisdiction where penalties are greater.
Extradition between nations
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
When a state or country surrenders a person charged with a crime to the state or country that made the charge (literally, sends the person back). The rules and procedures for extradition are governed by international treaties, the U.S. Constitution, and U.S. federal and state laws. Occasionally a leader will refuse to extradite a person if satisfied that the prosecution is not warranted.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:16 pm