Why do states appear to fight over jurisdiction of some capital cases?


Do some states just want the prestige of being the state that makes the perp fry? You’d think they’d try to pass these casses off to other states instead of being stuck with the massive bill themselves.

Or am I just assuming that they fight over who gets to prosecute and I am a victim of bad reporting and reality TV shows?

A sensational murder case and successful prosecution can propel a district attorney into the national spotlight. Maybe then they get to be appointed a US Attorney or to a state or Federal judgeship. Or maybe they cash in their popularity to a higher level elected position, at the state or Federal rather than county level.

Not all states have the death penalty. I would assume that some states that oppose the death penalty may seek jurisdiction and oppose another state which has the death penalty. That state may do it do keep the defendant from being executed for a particularly heinous crime.

On the other hand, a state which DOES have the death penalty may want a real baddie to be permanently taken off the streets. If another state wants him, and they don’t have the death penalty, there is often a chance that parole could come up more quickly than expected. It has happened, and this puts the public at risk once more. So there may be more than political forces at work, although yojimboguy is very right.

Countries do the same thing. Many other countries really are appalled that we still permit the death penalty in the USA. So some will refuse extradition back to us in cases where the defendant may receive the death penalty. Sucks, I know, but it happens.

I’ve never heard of a state without a death penalty opposing extradition on the grounds that the extradition would expose the defendant to the death penalty.

I believe that states are obligated to cooperate with extraditions to other states. The real question is when. They may wish to try and convict them before extradition, and if the first case results in life in prison or a death sentence, there’s a good chance the second state won’t pursue the issue.

IANA lawyer, and I may be wrong. In my reading of such cases domestically, such disputes are almost ALWAYS political, “We want to fry him first” type things.

TheLady Lion is quite correct in international cases. MOST countries in the world, including virtually all our European allies, will not extradite to the US if the person in question faces a possible death penalty in the US.