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What is Extradition In Maryland?

Extradition, generally, is the process by which someone accused of a crime in another state, or, escapes while serving a sentence in that other state, is returned to that other state to answer the charge or complete their sentence.  In Maryland, Extradition is an executive process carried out by the Secretary of State.  Initially, the Governor will review a requisition [i.e. a request by a  demanding state that an individual is returned].  The demand must allege and satisfactorily support that the target either committed a crime in the other jurisdiction or was serving a sentence there.  If the Governor feels the requisition is appropriate, an arrest warrant is issued.   A person taken into custody under this warrant has the right, before being surrendered to the demanding state, to be present before a judge of a court of this state, who shall inform the prisoner:

  • of the demand made for surrender;
  • of the crime charged; and
  • of the right to demand and procure a criminal defense attorney.

The prisoner also has the right to challenge the validity of his or her arrest under the warrant by applying for a writ of habeas corpus.  One accused of committing a crime in another state, or having escaped from confinement there, may waive the extradition process entirely, by signing a written consent in front a judge.  If the individual has chosen to waive the extradition process, they, along with their written consent, shall be delivered “forthwith” to the custody or the demanding state. Forthwith is one of those nebulous phrases that is susceptible to differing interpretations.  For sure, a frequently posed questions by family members of those arrested in Maryland, but facing charges elsewhere, or, facing charges in  Maryland, but arrested elsewhere is how long does the process take. Certainly, COVID-19 has had a delaying impact on most criminal proceedings, and extradition is no exception. Another common question involves where to hire an attorney. The reality is, if one intends to fight extradition, two attorneys may be required, and certainly one in the state of arrest. If one consents to extradition, they should generally look to employ counsel where they face charges, not where they were arrested. 

     -This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 11/5/20.

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