National Extradition

Extradition, where one state surrenders a person convicted of a crime to another state for punishment, is often wrapped in legal complexity. Given its impact on individuals' rights and freedom, understanding the federal extradition process is crucial. 


The process of extraditing a person who has been convicted, or has been accused of a crime, involves many moving parts.

At Kolsrud Law Office, we understand the gravity of extradition proceedings and are committed to providing you with a clear, comprehensive understanding of the process. This article delves deep into the intricacies of federal extradition, focusing on the legal framework, the step-by-step process, and how Arizona plays its part.


One of the most beneficial factors that attorney Josh Kolsrud brings to your case is that he has been on both sides of the process, as a federal prosecutor and now a defense attorney. He understands all angles and strategies and ways to argue against them.


Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Justice, the federal government processed over 10,000 extradition requests in the last decade? With such figures, understanding the process becomes even more crucial.

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The Legal Framework for Federal Extradition

The United States Code, precisely Title 18, Chapter 209, is the foundation of the federal extradition process. This chapter outlines the legal procedures for extradition, detailing everything from issuing an arrest warrant to the subsequent extradition hearing.


On the other hand, Arizona's contribution to the federal extradition process is laid out in ARS §13-3841 through ARS §13-3870. This statute offers guidance on how Arizona law enforcement agencies assist in the process, working with federal agencies to ensure the smooth execution of extradition.


While these legal documents provide the framework, implementing federal extradition is complex, often requiring expert legal guidance of a federal crimes defense attorney from the Kolsrud Law Offices

national extradition

The Federal Extradition Process

The federal extradition process isn't just complex—it can feel like a maze of legal procedures.


However, understanding it can be simplified by breaking it down into steps.


  • First, an arrest warrant is issued based on an extradition request. After the arrest, the detainee is held pending extradition, during which their legal rights must be stringently protected, an imperative time to speak with an attorney.


  • Next, the role of the Secretary of State comes into play. They review the extradition request, ensuring it complies with the relevant treaty provisions and U.S. laws.


  • Finally, the extradition hearing, a court proceeding where the judge determines whether the detainee can be extradited, is held. Your skilled federal criminal defense attorney can argue a persuasive defense during this hearing.

A Closer Look at State-Federal Interactions

The federal extradition process isn't solely a federal affair—states like Arizona play a pivotal role too. Arizona's law enforcement agencies work closely with federal counterparts, ensuring that the extradition process proceeds smoothly.


Under ARS §13-3855, Arizona assists with the detention and surrender of the person sought, contributing to the overall efficiency of the federal extradition process. Yet, even within this cooperative framework, safeguarding the individual's rights is critical. For example, Arizona law enforcement agencies must respect the detainee's rights under the United States and the Arizona constitutions.


This is another area where an attorney from Kolsrud Law Office can provide invaluable assistance. They can ensure that all interactions with Arizona and federal law enforcement follow the law and that the individual's rights are not infringed.

Cross-Jurisdictional Arrest

A typical scenario unfolds when an individual indicted in one federal jurisdiction is apprehended by law enforcement in another jurisdiction. 


This occurs due to active pursuits by United States Marshals or other federal law enforcement agencies such as ATF, DEA, or FBI.


Alternatively, the accused may be apprehended by local or state authorities for unrelated charges, who then notify the federal government about the apprehension of an individual facing federal charges.


In scenarios where the accused is arrested in one federal district for charges arising in another, the federal extradition process is initiated.


Guidelines and prerequisites for such situations are addressed in the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA). It's important to note that the UCEA isn't obligatory, and not all states have adopted it. Those states that haven't have their own extradition laws that comply with federal statutes.


Protective Rights of the Accused During Extradition

The rights of the accused during the extradition phase of a federal case are relatively restrictive. Essentially, the government must only establish that the arrested individual is the correct person.


This aspect, known as proving identity, can be established in one of two ways. The most frequent method is when the arrestee waives their right to dispute identity, recognizing the futility of contesting their identification.


Waiving identity could be a strategic move to expedite the extradition process or because the government's evidence of identity, such as fingerprints, photos, or other identifiable information, is overwhelmingly conclusive and realistically uncontestable.


However, there may be instances where the identity of the accused could be legitimately disputed. Given the vast population, it's conceivable, though rare, that the arrestee's physical attributes, name, or other identifiers might match those of the federal criminal defendant but are, in fact, a different person.


In such cases, the defendant might wish to exercise their right to challenge the government's proof of identity in a formal hearing before a federal judge.

Expediting the Extradition Process

Accelerating the extradition process may be beneficial for the accused. While awaiting extradition, it's uncommon for the accused to be released on bond.


This implies that the accused will remain in federal law enforcement custody until they are transported to the jurisdiction where the charges were filed for arraignment before a federal judge.


A swift extradition allows the accused to appear before the proper jurisdiction's judge sooner, potentially arguing for their pretrial release on a signature or surety bond.


Moreover, the accused can only argue most defenses to the charges once they are in the jurisdiction where they were filed.


Although certain procedural defects in the charging document and identity, as previously mentioned, can be addressed in the jurisdiction where the arrest occurred, the extraditing district's role is not to judge the merits of the criminal charges.


In essence, viable defense strategies or factual innocence are not considered defenses to extradition.


The extraditing jurisdiction will stay within its boundaries by assessing the strength of the government's evidence or potential legal or factual defenses the accused might present at trial.

extraditition defenses

Challenging Extradition: Your Rights and Potential Defense Strategies

There are few defenses to extradition, provided the process outlined in the United States Constitution and federal law is adhered to. In most cases, the fugitive must be turned over to the demanding state.


However, a few defenses confirmed by the Supreme Court do exist. These encompass the legitimacy of the extradition documents, whether the accused was charged with a crime in the demanding state, and whether they are indeed the person charged.


If the accused's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is unsuccessful, the apprehending state is obliged to detain them, and the demanding state then has 30 days to take custody of the fugitive.


If the accused, represented by an attorney before the arrest, becomes aware of formal criminal charges being filed, they may have the chance to negotiate a self-surrender in the appropriate jurisdiction with the charging prosecutor. This could help the defendant avoid being detained and remain in custody pending an extradition hearing.


In addition to the possibility of resolving criminal cases before they are filed, evading the formal extradition process is a significant advantage of being represented by experienced federal criminal defense counsel during the investigative stage of a federal criminal case.


The role of the defense attorney is essential in these situations. They can provide guidance, negotiate on the defendant's behalf, and help navigate the complex procedures of federal extradition. A proactive and strategic approach can significantly impact the defendant's case, potentially speeding up the process or even helping to avoid extradition altogether.

The Kolsrud Law Office is Here to Help

At Kolsrud Law Office, we understand how daunting the federal extradition process can be. Our expert attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of the United States Code, and Arizona Revised Statutes and are committed to providing robust, personalized defense strategies for our clients facing extradition.


Having a federal criminal defense attorney, who has handled thousands of court cases over the years, at your side can ensure you're well-represented and your rights are defended throughout this process.


If you need legal advice or assistance, don't hesitate to contact the experienced team at the Kolsrud Law Offices.

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Why Choose Josh Kolsrud

With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication



Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients



Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.



As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort

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