Extradition to and from Colorado is becoming more and more common in criminal cases today. As sex crime defense attorneys, we see law enforcement agencies in Denver, Arapahoe, and Jefferson County extraditing men and women in and out of Colorado. What exactly is extradition, however? Let’s look closer at the court processes involved.
What is Extradition?
According to the dictionary, “extradite” means:
1.To surrender (an alleged offender) for trial to a foreign state
2.To procure the extradition of an accused person from another state
In other words, extradition occurs when law enforcement in one state hands an alleged criminal over to the law enforcement in another state to be prosecuted. People who have crossed state lines to avoid prosecution are referred to as “foreign fugitives.”
Uniform Criminal Extradition Act
This act defines the process for the seizure and return of a fugitive between states.
Each state is sovereign, creating its own laws and maintaining its own court system. However, it is beneficial to each state to be able to reach an agreement with other states in order to make sure laws are obeyed and people who commit crimes can’t cross state lines and remain free from prosecution. This agreement is called the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, which is found under C.R.S. 16-19-104. The law is detailed, defining the process each state must follow during the seizure and return of a fugitive. Law enforcement agencies in Adams, Douglas, and El Paso County must also follow these laws precisely to return fugitives from other states who have crossed into Colorado.
The Extradition Process
A key part of the extradition process is the Governor’s Warrant, which is listed with the United States National Crime Information Center (NCIC). When another state wishes to extradite someone, they demand in writing that Colorado produce the wanted person. The document is then verified by the governor in the state the person is being extradited to. Because extradition is costly, Colorado and other states only seek extradition for serious crimes such as Unlawful Sexual Contact, Sexual Assault on a Child or Sexual Assault (among others).
If you are facing extradition, the involvement of an expert lawyer can help you avoid a long trip in a prison van.
Once Colorado receives an Extradition Warrant from another state, a police officer will arrest the wanted person. This person is then entitled to appear at a procedural hearing in front of a Colorado judge, which is requested by a Writ of Habeas Corpus (which is essentially filing a civil court case). This hearing does not consider the guilt or innocence of the arrested party. Instead, it is designed to make sure that all court procedures have been followed properly. If the judge determines the procedures have been followed under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, the person will be imprisoned until the other state arrives to take the person into custody. This procedure operates in reverse when the Colorado government wishes to extradite a wanted person from another state. If you have been arrested for extradition to another state, the involvement of an expert criminal defense attorney can help you avoid a long, exhausting trip in a prison van across the country, by working with the court to allow you to post bond here in Colorado.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one are living in another state and have been arrested under an Extradition Warrant to return to Colorado for trial, contact one of our hard-hitting criminal defense lawyers to aggressively defend you in court in Boulder, Pitkin, or Grand County. Often, we are able to help you avoid a long, lonely trip in a prison van back to Colorado, and we are able to fight aggressively for you in court to protect your future.