Extradition Treaty Law and Procedure – Part 1

Brief United States Historical Perspective

The United States entered into its first treaty providing for an extradition agreement with Great Britain in 1795. A Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation (referred to as the Jay Treaty) allowed for the extradition of individuals charged with murder or forgery. The Jay Treaty expired in 1807, and having extradited only one individual under its provisions, who was subsequently hanged by Great Britain, the United States, in a flood of negative publicity, abstained from entering into extradition agreements for 35 years.

Desiring to once again formalize extradition protocols, the United States entered into a new extradition treaty with Great Britain in 1842. Whereas the Jay Treaty had been bilateral (between two nations), this new treaty included Canada and was one of the first multilateral (between many nations) extradition treaties of its kind.

A majority of extradition treaties have evolved from agreements implemented after the Second World War. These older agreements typically permitted extradition only for a limited number of offenses. Faced with rapid globalization and an increasingly mobile criminal character, these treaties, while sufficient in their day, lacked fundamental provisions the United States required in order to broaden potential extradition opportunities. Recognizing the need for extensive revisions, the United States began a comprehensive program of supplementing or replacing treaties during the 1970’s with nations most important to its extradition interests. Unfortunately, the revised treaties, while greatly expanding the number and types of offenses for which extradition could be granted, remained bound to a predetermined list of extraditable offenses, were limited in their application and, were routinely constrained by U.S. Supreme Court interpretation.

Current extradition treaties are more adapt to socially mobile societies. Newer treaties dispense with lists or categories completely and generally authorize extradition for offenses, which would constitute a violation of law in the country for which extradition is requested, had the offense been committed in that country. This practice is often referred to as “dual criminality”.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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