There are many types of cases that may be the basis for extradition to or from the United States. In most extradition cases, the individual will be accused of a serious offense involving felony charges. A traffic violation or a misdemeanor-level offense is usually not serious enough for federal officials to seek extradition from a foreign country.
They types of cases eligible for extradition may also depend on the specific treaty involved. Some treaties identify extraditable crimes. Other treaties recognize a crime as subject to extradition if both countries consider the misconduct a punishable offense.
Some crimes which may be subject to extradition include murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, terrorism, rape, sexual assault, burglary, embezzlement, arson, or espionage. Some of the most common extradition cases involving the U.S. are between our neighboring countries of Mexico and Canada. Other common cases of extradition involve allegations of international parental kidnapping.
Extradition for International Parental Kidnapping
One of the common reasons for which another country requests extradition involves cases of international parental kidnapping. Parental kidnapping has become more common across international lines. Within a few hours, a parent can take their child away to another country, without the other parent finding out until after the plane has already landed. These cases involve more than a simple custody battle, they may involve cases of international diplomacy.
Parents may take their children out of the country for religious reasons, safety reasons, fear of the other parent or their family, or because they were denied custody. However, even if the parent has a good reason for taking their own child away, they may still be charged with parental kidnapping.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 1204, it is a federal crime to remove or attempt to remove a child from the United States, or retain a child outside the United States with intent to obstruct another parent's custodial rights.
Some extradition treaties between the U.S. and other countries do not specify parental kidnapping as an extraditable offense. However, the Extradition Treaties Interpretation Act of 1998 authorizes the interpretation of the term ‘kidnapping' to include parental kidnapping.
If you have been accused of kidnapping your child by taking them out of the country, you should talk to experienced federal defense attorneys who understand what may be at stake. Even if you were moving your child out of concern for your child's safety, you may have to go to court to make sure you are not extradited to face criminal charges.
Extradition Treaties with Canada and Mexico
If an individual is suspected of a criminal offense, it may be easier for them to cross a land border instead of getting on a plane. With the extensive borders between Canada and the United States, and the United States and Mexico, individuals often go to another country to avoid criminal prosecution. The United States has extradition treaties with both countries, and officials regularly request extradition between our foreign neighbors.
There are limits to when Canada and Mexico may extradite an individual to the U.S. Both countries have a death penalty exception. If an offense is punishable by death under the laws of the United States, then Canada or Mexico may refuse extradition of an individual unless the U.S. provides such assurances that the death penalty will not be imposed.
These three countries may also refuse extradition with another country if the statute of limitations has expired, if they have already been tried for the same offense, or where the offense is political in nature.
Extradition Defense Attorneys
If you are facing extradition to or from the United States, you should contact a federal criminal defense attorney who understands the complex nature of extradition cases. Your attorney can negotiate with federal officials to prevent your extradition to another country, where you may not get a fair trial. Your lawyer will be able to advise you of your options, evaluate your case, identify available defenses, and represent you in court to sure your voice is heard and your family is kept safe.