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The Extradition clause or Interstate renditon clause[1] of the United States Constitution refers to a provision in Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2, provides for the extradition of a criminal back to the state where he or she has committed a crime.

Contents

Text

Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2:

A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime.

History

Similar to a clause found in the Articles of Confederation, the extradition clause was included because the founders found that interstate rendition was separate from international extradition. Fearing that it was not self-executing, Congress passed the first rendition act in 1793 – now found under 18 U.S.C. § 3182.[1]

Interpretation

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Kentucky v. Dennison

The meaning of the extradition clause was first really tested in the case of Kentucky v. Dennison. The case involved a man named Willis Lago who was wanted in Kentucky for helping a slave girl escape. He had fled to Ohio, where the governor, William Dennison, refused to extradite him back to Kentucky. In this case, the court ruled that, while it was the duty of a governor to return a fugitive to the state where the crime was committed, a governor could not be compelled through a writ of mandamus to do so.

Puerto Rico v. Branstad

In 1987, the court reversed its decision under Dennison. The case involved an Iowan, Ronald Calder who struck a married couple near Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The husband survived but the wife, who was eight months pregnant, did not. Following the incident, Calder was charged with murder and let out on bail. While on bail, Ronald Calder fled to his home-state of Iowa. In May 1981, the Governor of Puerto Rico submitted a request to the Governor of Iowa for extradition of Ronald Calder to face murder charges. The Governor of Iowa refused the request, forcing the Governor of Puerto Rico to file a writ of mandamus in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. The Court rejected it, ruling that under Kentucky v. Dennison, the Governor of Iowa was not obligated to return Calder. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court felt differently, ruling unanimously that the Federal Courts did indeed have the power to enforce a writ of mandamus and that Kentucky v. Dennison was outdated.

External links

References

  1. ^ a b Heritage Foundation (Washington, D.C.) (2005). The Heritage Guide to the Constitution. Edwin Meese, III: Regnery Publishing. pp. 273. ISBN 1-5969-8001-X.  

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