Durbin Asks State Department To Update US-Mexico Extradition Treaty

ENews Park Forest on March 27, 2012 released the following:

Senator asks for renegotiation of two provisions to help bring more international fugitives to justice in the United States

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–March 27, 2012. In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today asked the State Department to work with its Mexican counterpart to modify two outdated provisions of the U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty to allow more international fugitives to be brought to justice in the United States.

“Given that the original treaty was executed over 30 years ago and only one protocol has been executed since then, the time is well overdue for the U.S. and Mexico to renegotiate and update the treaty,” Durbin wrote. “While Mexico has made great strides in improving its extradition process and has proven to be a cooperative partner, the structural issues with the treaty still restrict extradition in serious criminal cases. Because the treaty is the primary tool to bring back international fugitives, we need to ensure that it encompasses the current realities and obstacles to extradition.”

Durbin identified two provisions in the U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty – entered into force in 1980 – that he believes have allowed criminal suspects from Illinois and other states to escape to Mexico and remain free. These changes would be consistent with other more recently negotiated extradition treaties.

Statute of Limitations – The current treaty requires that the statute of limitations for both countries be satisfied, but the United States and Mexico have vastly different statutes of limitations for certain serious crimes. For example, there is no statute of limitations in the United States for murder charges, but Mexico has a 13-year limit. The U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty should be renegotiated to use the same statute of limitations provision that has been used in our nation’s more recent extradition treaties which does not bar extradition based on the statute of limitations of the requested country.

List of Extraditable Crimes – The current treaty’s dual criminality provision requires that extraditable offenses either be listed in the treaty or fall within the definition of a “willful” felony criminal offense in both countries. This provision excludes many serious crimes. For example, the killing of another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs does not fit into either category, so individuals charged in the United States with reckless homicide or aggravated driving under the influence cannot be extradited. The U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty should be renegotiated to define extraditable offenses as those which are deemed felonies in both countries similar to the provision in more recently negotiated extradition treaties.

Earlier this month, Durbin introduced legislation to devote additional federal resources to investigating, apprehending, extraditing and prosecuting fugitives suspected of committing serious crimes. Durbin’s Bringing Fugitives to Justice Act would enhance resources for fugitive apprehension efforts by directing appearance and bail bonds that are forfeited in federal criminal cases to a Fugitive Extradition and Apprehension Trust Fund. The bill is the most recent action taken by Durbin in response to a Chicago Tribune investigative series that raised concerns about the fugitive apprehension process.

[A copy of the letter is below]

March 27, 2012

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

I am writing to ask that the State Department work with its Mexican counterpart to modify two outdated provisions of the U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty (the “Treaty”), which entered into force in 1980. These provisions, which limit extradition to cases that satisfy Mexico’s statute of limitations and fall within a narrow list of crimes, have allowed criminal suspects from Illinois and other states to escape to Mexico and remain free.

Given that the original Treaty was executed over 30 years ago and only one protocol has been executed since then, the time is well overdue for the U.S. and Mexico to renegotiate and update the Treaty. While Mexico has made great strides in improving its extradition process and has proven to be a cooperative partner, the structural issues with the Treaty still restrict extradition in serious criminal cases. Because the Treaty is the primary tool to bring back international fugitives, we need to ensure that it encompasses the current realities and obstacles to extradition.

As you are probably aware, the Treaty requires that the statute of limitations for both the charging jurisdiction in the U.S. and Mexico be satisfied. Currently, there is no statute of limitations in the U.S. for murder charges, but Mexico has a 13-year limit, which risks foreclosing extradition in some of the most brutal murder cases. In contrast, our nation’s recent extradition treaties do not bar extradition based on the statute of limitations of the requested country. See e.g., Extradition Treaty with United Kingdom, art. 6, entered into force April 26, 2007; Extradition Treaty with Bulgaria, art. 6, entered into force May 21, 2009. Because the U.S. and Mexico have vastly different statutes of limitations for certain serious crimes, the Treaty should be renegotiated to use this modern statute of limitations provision instead. These cases should not be barred from extradition, and I urge the State Department to address this issue.

In addition, the Treaty’s dual criminality provision requires that extraditable offenses either be listed in the Treaty or fall within the definition of a “willful” felony criminal offense in both countries. As I understand it, the killing of another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs does not fit into either category, so individuals charged in the U.S. with reckless homicide or aggravated driving under the influence cannot be extradited. In contrast, our recent extradition treaties define extraditable offenses as those which are deemed felonies in both countries. U.S.-U.K. Treaty, art. 2; U.S.-Bulgaria Treaty art. 2; Extradition Treaty with Malaysia, art. 2, entered into force June 2, 1997. This modern version is broader and should replace the existing provision in the Treaty, and I ask that you raise this issue with the Mexican government.

Thank you for considering this request. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator

cc: Attorney General Eric Holder”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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

Comments are closed.