Interstate Extradition is the legal procedure used to transfer a person charged with a crime, back to the State where the crime was committed. This process is controlled by the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (New Jersey is a signatory of the agreement, see N.J.S.A. 2A: 159A-1 et. seq); and, the Court Rules applicable to both States. The Interstate Agreement defines the State where the crime was committed and who is requesting the extradition as the ‘Requesting’ State; and, the State where the person is located and is actually performing the extradition, as the ‘Sending’ State. In New Jersey, jurisdiction for these matters is in the Superior Court, Law Division, in the county where the crime was committed, or in the county where the person is being held while waiting to be extradited.
Other then the person who is being extradited, the interstate extradition process involves the Court; the County Prosecutor and the Governor’s Office in the ‘Requesting’ State; and, the Court; the County Prosecutor and the Governor’s Office in the ‘Sending’ State. Even when the process is simplified, it can take several weeks for a person to be returned to the ‘Requesting’ State. Often, this period is extended when the transportation (usually by bus) is added to the processing time.
Whether the detainer from the ‘Requesting’ State can be lifted and a bail can be posted while the extradition process occurs, are issues that require the agreement of both of the States involved in the petition. If the ‘Requesting’ State does not agree, and the ‘Sending’ State still allows the bail to be posted, the arrest warrant remains active, and the bail posted is only good while the person being extradited stays in the jurisdiction of the County (not the State) where the bail was posted.
Whether the person being extradited is eligible to be released on bail is one often one of the most important considerations in deciding whether to fight or ‘waive’ extradition. Among the issues that will affect the setting of the bail are the type of charges that are the basis of the extradition request; and, the extraditee’s prior criminal record.
In addition, other issues which can affect whether the extradition petition will be enforced or denied by the ‘Requested’ State are not simple and a wrong choice can result in unintended consequences, such as the loss of jail credits in the ‘Requesting’ State. Respectfully, these issues are best addressed by an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with these issues and the procedures involved in an interstate extradition, like those at Bailey & Orozco. We have assisted many clients in determining whether to fight or waive interstate extradition, throughout the State of New Jersey. We have also been successful in having detainers lifted, bail posted, and our client’s released so they can voluntarily return to the ‘Requesting’ State.
Essentially, the two choices confronting someone being extradited, are to fight the extradition, or to ‘waive’ or agree to be extradited. Potential grounds to fight extradition include; that you are not the person named in the warrant; that the charge for which extradition is sought is not a crime; and, that the person being extradited has never been in the ‘Requesting’ State. The Court in the ‘Sending’ State will not entertain any ‘defense’ of the charge. You can only defend yourself once you are back in the jurisdiction of the ‘Requesting’ State.
You cannot fight the charges long-distance once an extradition petition has been filed. The only question actually addressed, is whether the extradition should be granted. Unfortunately, this frequently involves a client needing to retain a lawyer to represent him in the extradition proceedings in the ‘Sending’ State; and, a lawyer to represent him in the defense of the criminal charges in the ‘Requesting’ State. While this obviously increases the overall cost of representation, each representation is often essential to an effective protection of your rights and to obtaining the best outcome (such as the dismissal of the case, or the lowest period of incarceration).
As with any criminal charge, it is important not to speak about the facts involving the criminal case with anyone other then your lawyer. This is not a time to explain your side of the story. This is not a time to defend yourself from the charges. Remember that you have a right to remain silent, and that you have the right to counsel. Do not talk about the case with anyone, and do ask for a lawyer. Other then giving your name, address and other personal information, you should not talk about anything else without your lawyer being present to protect your rights.