Extradition is the process by which a prosecuting state arranges to transport a criminal defendant from a foreign state. When that process is between two states in the United States, the best practice is to be proactive. As explained below, extradition is easily accomplished but the process is slow and unpleasant to the point of cruelty.
Extradition transport: I have had the extradition experience described to me by numerous clients. Each story is a little different, but there are common themes. First, the transport bus or van has its own itinerary. The defendants travel where the transport company finds most convenient. I know of one person brought to Maine from North Carolina by way of Oklahoma. You are locked down during the transport and stops for bathroom breaks are difficult and, therefore, rare. Persons with medical conditions may not receive their medications or proper care. You spend non-transport time in jails or prisons in various conditions. In short, avoid extradition at all costs if possible.
Pre-arrest: If you are fortunate enough to receive notice of another state’s intent to extradite you, understand this: Extradition is almost certainly a foregone conclusion. The requesting state need only provide probable cause proof that a crime was committed in the requesting state and you are the person who committed it. A copy of an indictment or an affidavit coupled with sufficient identifying documents will get you arrested and perhaps jailed until the requesting state arranges to transport you. Because of the inevitability of extradition, those with advance notice should travel immediately to the requesting state. This seems counter-intuitive and is a bitter pill to swallow for some, but consider the alternative: If you are going to be extradited you are going to be standing in front of a bail judge in the requesting state sooner or later. Your voluntary appearance severely undercuts the requesting state’s argument that you are a flight risk. Therefore, bail is likely to be set lower.
Post-arrest: If you are arrested on an extradition warrant, obtain counsel if possible but by all means argue for bail that will allow you to travel to the requesting state. Where there are no prior bail violations and no convictions for failure to appear, then I have seen courts order release on conditions ranging from high cash to electronic monitoring to personal recognizance. A recent client took his electronic monitor with him as he traveled from one state to another. When making the argument on bail and self-report, make sure to share the above article with the judge.
No bail: Although the requesting state can ask for more time, judges usually set 30 days as the limit for the requesting state to arrange for your removal. You will be asked to waive extradition proceedings. This should be reviewed with an criminal defense lawyer trusts, which most states will provide at no cost. The important consideration on the waiver is that you are entitled to credit for time served from the moment you sign the waiver. If you have pressing issues that prevent you from signing an extradition waiver, your time in custody will not count against your sentence (if there is one) until you are returned to the requesting state.