Do non-death penalty US states ever refuse extradition to death penalty states, as countries without capital punishment like Canada won’t extradite to the US unless the death penalty is taken off the table?
I assume states don’t have the option to refuse extradition?
Plus… if they did, then what? This was the threat with Charles Ng - California told Canada they would NOT take the death penalty off the table, and suggested then that Canada could have a mass murderer running around free if they refused to extradite. I have trouble imagining any US state politician wanting that sort of result on their hands - if the crime was a state crime, the state refusing extradition has nothing to charge him with and he’s a free man.
Recall a discussion in Canada of just the opposite. In Canada, all major crimes are federal, but provinces take care of the justice system. The complaint was that provinces like Ontario would release minor criminals on bail, and encourage them to skip the province. British Columbia tended to be the destination of choice. They’d be arrested in BC for something, and the outstanding warrant would show in the system. BC would call Ontario, say “we got your man, come and get him” and Ontario would say, “no you keep him”. Since Ontario would have to pay to send two cops out to pick the guy up, and then for the whole trial and incarceration, it was cheaper to leave him there. It was an effective exile - don’t come back to Ontario or we’ll be forced to arrest you.
After a while, BC solved this problem by footing the bill themselves for their police escort back to Ontario to drop off wanted criminals.
The constitution (Article IV, section 2) says
Since Puerto Rico v. Branstad (1987), the interpretation has been that state authorities have no discretion to refuse extradition to another state (or certain other jurisdictions including Puerto Rico).
It’s my understanding that the state governor has the final say, and can decline to extradite a wanted fugitive to another demanding state.
It’s also my understanding that the process (from one state to another) isn’t properly called “extradition”, although that term is colloquially used. It’s properly called “rendition”.
Amirite about either of these understandings?
In the seventies Jerry Brown, as governor of California, refused to allow Dennis Banks to be extradited to South Dakota to face charges resulting from the Wounded Knee protests. Banks remained in California until 1984, when Brown left office. At that point, Banks went to New York State, where he received sanctuary from the Onandaga Nation. In 1985 Banks went to South Dakota, where he surrendered to law enforcement.
So it’s possible for a state to refuse extradition. In this case it happened not because of opposition to a particular law, but because Jerry Brown was sympathetic to Banks’ cause and situation.
That would be much more difficult today. The law changed significantly in 1987 as cited earlier. The requesting state can now go to a federal court and have the other state ordered to render the fugitive.