What is Extradition?

Legal Definition
Extradition is the official process whereby one country transfers a suspected or convicted criminal to another country. Between countries, extradition is normally regulated by treaties. Where extradition is compelled by laws, such as among sub-national jurisdictions, the concept may be known more generally as rendition. It is an ancient mechanism, dating back to at least the 13th century BC, when an Egyptian Pharaoh, Ramesses II, negotiated an extradition treaty with a Hittite King, Hattusili III.

Through the extradition process, a sovereign (the requesting state) typically makes a formal request to another sovereign (the requested state). If the fugitive is found within the territory of the requested state, then the requested state may arrest the fugitive and subject him or her to its extradition process. The extradition procedures to which the fugitive will be subjected are dependent on the law and practice of the requested state.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
Extradition is the removal of a person from a requested state to a requesting state for criminal prosecution or punishment. Put differently, to extradite is to surrender, or obtain surrender of, a fugitive from one jurisdiction to another. see, e.g. United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 504 US 655 (1992), and In the matter of Morris Strauss, 197 US 324 (1905).

Extradition procedures are normally determined by reciprocal agreements between countries or by multilaterial agreements between a group of countries. The European Union, for example, shares a system of extradition laws. In most jurisdictions, extradition will be granted only if the alleged crime is also against the law in the requested country. Most countries also have a "political-offence exception," meaning that purely political crimes--such as vote tampering, or defaming a politicians--will not be extraditable. Some countries also have a double-jeopardy exception, refusing to grant extradition when the individual has already been tried for the crime at issue.
Extradition under American law
The constitutional basis for state-to-state extradition is found in the Extradition Clause, Article IV section 2 of the US Constitution. The statute implementing extradition is Title 18, Sect. 3182 of the US Code. Further extradition guidelines are to be found in the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, adopted in many states.

Not surprisingly, extradition is an important and sensitive issue between sovereigns. It can be particularly controversial when the accused is removed to a jurisdiction where penalties are greater.
Extradition between nations
See also:
  • The discussion of interstate rendition in the CRS/LII annotated Constitution
  • The Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, as adopted in Illinois
  • The background paper for the 1995 Workshop on Extradition and International Cooperation sponsored by the UN.
Legal Definition
Civil law. The act of sending, by authority of law, a person accused of a crime to a foreign jurisdiction where it was committed, in' order that he may be tried there. Merl. Rep. h. t.

2. By the constitution and laws of the United States, fugitives from justice (q. v.) may be demanded by the executive of the one state where the crime has been committed from that of another where the accused is. Const. United States, art. 4, s. 2, 2 3 Story, Com. Const. U. S. §1801, et seq.

3. The government of the United States is bound by some treaty stipulation's to surrender criminals who take refuge within the country, but independently of such conventions, it is questionable whether criminals can be surrendered. 1 Kent. Com. 36; 4 John. C. R. 106; 1 Amer. Jurist, 297; 10 Serg. & Rawle, 125; 22 Amer. Jur. 330; Story's Confl. of Laws, p. 520; Wheat. Intern. Law, 111.

4. As to when the extradition or delivery of the supposed criminal is complete is not very certain. A case occurred in, France of a Mr. Cassado, a Spaniard, who had taken refuge in Bayonne. Upon an application made to the French government, he was delivered to the Spanish consul who had authority to take him to Spain, and while in the act of removing him with the assistance of French officers, a creditor obtained an execution against his person, and made an attempt to execute it and retain Cassado in France, but the council of state, (conseil d'etat) on appeal, decided that the courts could not interfere, and directed Cassado to be delivered to the Spanish authorities. Morrin, Dict. du Dr. Crim. h.v.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
The surrender of a criminal by a foreign state to wnich he has fled for refuge from prosecution to the state within whose jurisdiction the crime was committed, upon the demand of the latter state, in order that he may be dealt with according to its laws. Extradition may be ac-cerded as a mere matter of comity or may take place under treaty stipulations between the two nations. It also obtains as bstween the different states of the American Union. Terlinden v. Ames, 184 U. S. 270, 22 Sup. Ct 484, 46 L. Ed. 534; Fong Yue Ting v. U. S., 149 In S. 698, 13 Sup. Ct. 1016, 37 In Ed. 905. Extradition between the states must be considered and defined to be a political duty of imperfect obligation, founded upon compact, and requiring each state to surrender one who, having violated the criminal laws of another state, has fled from its justice, and is found in the state from which he is demanded, on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled. Abbott
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
The delivery up of one charged with crime by one state or country to another.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary