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Legal Resources on U.S. Extradition Law

Due to widespread news reports that an alleged secret leaker has fled the U.S. for Hong Kong, the topic of extradition has received a great deal of public attention this past week. 

The United States Code addresses extradition in 18 U.S.C. Chapter 209, which primarily discusses the extradition of persons out of the U.S.  Extraditing persons from foreign countries to the U.S. is generally a matter of treaty law, although some nations occasionally provide extradition in the absence of a treaty; nations that have signed extradition treaties with the U.S. will generally extradite persons here.  Extraditable offenses may be listed in an extradition treaty, or the parties to the treaty may agree to a ‘dual criminality’ arrangement in which any act illegal in both nations is considered an extraditable offense.  Standard extradition treaties also address grounds for refusing extradition.

Anyone interested in a more thorough analysis of U.S. extradition law might want to read the Congressional Research Service’s treatment of the topic in CRS Report 98-958.  Attorneys interested in initiating a request for extradition to the U.S. should consult Chapter 9-15 of the United States Attorneys’ Manual.


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