International extradition is the process by which one nation requests another nation to turn over an alleged, suspected or convicted criminal to the requesting nation for prosecution or punishment. While sovereign nations are under no obligation to comply with such requests, because of a mutual desire to seek justice, many nations have created binding extradition treaties with one another. These treaties set forth specific criteria as well as exceptions. No one nation has extradition treaties will all other nations. The United States is a party to extradition treaties with several countries and US District Court judges hold US diplomatic interests in the highest regard when deciding such requests.
International extradition matters consist of an underlying criminal charge or conviction in a foreign country, which is a party to an extradition treaty with the United States. While the proceedings stem from a criminal matter, the case is a federal civil proceeding heard and decided in a U.S. District Court with jurisdiction over the “fugitive”.
Because of the civil nature of these proceedings, the bail factors available under the Bail Reform Act in federal criminal matters are not applicable when arrested on an extradition warrant. Almost always, the arrested fugitive remains in custody for the duration of the proceedings. Nonetheless, in 2016, Ms. Azari obtained an unusual victory when she successfully sought the release of her client, a dual citizen of Mexico and United States, by arguing very limited and narrowly construed “special circumstances” that warranted release on bond. While the client has suffered a conviction for the murder of his spouse in Mexico and is facing over 25 years in prison, by working closely with counsel in Mexico, Ms. Azari was able to seek a stay (a stop) in the extradition proceedings in the US as well as to secure her client’s release on an unsecured bond (no collateral or money secures the bond).
Ms. Azari is one of a select number of attorneys in California with experience in defending fugitives in extradition matters. She is extremely knowledgeable about the applicable defenses that will lead to a denial of the request for extradition by the foreign country.