If you were arrested in Florida on a felony warrant issued in another state, then you can seek an emergency bond hearing in the jurisdiction where you are being held while awaiting extradition. This bond is often called the “extradition bond” in Florida.
You should deal with a felony warrant immediately instead of just waiting to be extradited. Avoiding extradition is important for several reasons.
First, you might be held for weeks or months while the authorities in another state arrange for a bus to pick you up and take you back to the jurisdiction where the felony arrest warrant originated. The extradition bus ride itself might take several more days or weeks as you stop at every jail, prison and correction facility between the pickup and drop off location.
During the extradition process, many people are loaded in the back of the extradition van. Sometimes the vans do not have a working air conditioner. Stops for food and rest are few and far between. The ride can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous.
Second, the extradition process is extremely expensive. Even being transported from Florida to Georgia can cost thousands of dollars. To add insult to injury, the judge in the other state will often try to make the defendant pay those extradition costs when the case is ultimately resolved.
For all of these reasons, people being detained for extradition to another state will often hire a local attorney to:
- argue that the original detention was illegal and an immediate release should be ordered; or
- argue that even if the detention is legal while awaiting extradition, the court should grant a reasonable extradition bond.
Ideally, you would hire a criminal defense attorney in both jurisdictions. One to fight for an extradition bond and the other to resolve the underlying case on the best possible terms.
Attorney for Extradition from Florida to Another State
If you or a loved one are being held in Florida for extradition to another state, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for felony cases at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your case.
Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced in fighting extradition cases throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including in Hillsborough County, Hernando County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Manatee County, and Polk County, FL.
Our main office has been located at the same location in downtown Tampa for the past ten years. We also have a second office conveniently located in New Port Richey, directly across from the West Pasco Judicial Center.
We can review your arrest affidavit in an extradition case to determine whether your arrest complied with Florida’s extradition laws. If not, we can fight for your immediate release. If the court refuses to release you, we can file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Alternatively, our attorneys can ask the court to set a reasonable extradition bond so that you can bond out of jail while you await extradition.
If extradition is likely while you are out of custody on the extradition bond, we can help you obtain permission to travel to the court where the case originated to voluntarily surrender on the warrant so that you can avoid the expense and inconvenience of extradition entirely.
Extradition cases are complicated and the relief available in your case, if any, depends on the facts of the case. Let us help you decide what you should do next.
Contact the attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your extradition case if you have an outstanding warrant in Florida or if you are being held in Florida for extradition to another state.
With four attorneys focused exclusively on criminal defense, we fight felony extradition cases throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including at the courthouse in Brooksville in Hernando County, in New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, in Clearwater in Pinellas County, in Tampa in Hillsborough County or in Bartow in Polk County.
Call 813-250-0500 today.
Extradition Bond Motions at the Courthouse in Tampa, FL
According to Administrative Order S-2017-066, hearings in extradition cases are heard in Criminal Division “O” at the courthouse in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, dealing with preliminary proceedings including:
- Bond and release on recognizance motions on extradition cases not assigned to another division;
- Interstate cooperation matters under chapter 94 l, Florida Statutes (fugitive warrants and governor warrants); and
- lnterstate extradition of witnesses under chapter 942, Florida Statutes.
Filing a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in Extradition Cases
If strict procedural rules are not followed or if you are improperly denied the extradition bond, then a criminal defense attorney might file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to a higher court. These types of emergency appeals are decided quickly.
The petition for writ of habeas corpus in an extradition case is a request to be released from detention as a fugitive while awaiting extradition to another state.
If the appellate court grants the petition, then the appellate court can order the defendant’s release on the out-of-state charges or order the judge to set a reasonable extradition bond.
Procedural Rules for Holding a Fugitive While Awaiting Extradition
If you are being held without bond on the out-of-state charges, then the procedures outlined in sections 941.13, 941.14, and 941.15, Florida Statutes, must be properly followed. These statutes, enacted in 1941, are derived from the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act. See ch. 20460, §§ 13, 14, 15, Laws of Fla. (1941).
The Act facilitates provisions of the United States Constitution and federal implementing legislation that provides for the extradition of fugitives from state to state, upon one governor’s demand to another. U.S. Const., art. IV, § 2, cl. 2; 18 U.S.C.A. §§ 3182, 3194, and 3195; § 941.02, Fla. Stat.
Additionally, the extradition process is primarily an executive function. This executive function explained in Section 941.03 involves the governor of the state from which the fugitive has fled issuing a written demand, or “requisition,” to the governor of the asylum state to detain the fugitive and deliver her to the demanding state.
Requirements for the Governor’s Demand for Extradition
Under § 941.03, Fla. Stat., a governor’s demand for extradition must be accompanied by an authenticated copy of the following documents:
- an indictment or information supported by an affidavit in the state having jurisdiction of the crime;
- a warrant supported by an affidavit made before a committing magistrate of the demanding state; or
- a judgment of conviction or a sentence imposed in the execution thereof, together with a statement by the executive authority of the demanding state that the person claimed has escaped from confinement or has broken the terms of his or her bail, probation, or parole.
As explained in Shapiro v. State, 456 So. 2d 968 (Fla. 2d DCA 1984), these requirements are intended to ensure that there has been a judicial determination of probable cause to believe that the accused committed the crime for which he is wanted or that he has been convicted of it.
Section 941.07 requires that if the asylum state governor determines that the demand is in order and should be honored, he must issue a warrant for the arrest of the fugitive. This is sometimes referred to as a “rendition warrant” or “extradition warrant.”
Some provisions of the Act permit the arrest and detention of an accused fugitive before the issuance of a governor’s arrest warrant. A Florida court may order the pre-requisition arrest of an accused fugitive by issuing an arrest warrant, commonly known as a “fugitive warrant,” under section 941.13.
Two Scenarios for Extradition Cases in Florida
Florida’s statutory scheme for extradition cases authorizes the issuance of a fugitive warrant under two scenarios. Under the first scenario, a “credible person” must charge before a Florida judge that a person in Florida has:
- committed a crime in another state and has fled from justice; or
- has been convicted of a crime in another state and has escaped from confinement or broken the terms of her bail, probation, or parole.
Under the second scenario, a complaint is presented to a Florida judge based on an affidavit from a credible person in the demanding state attesting either:
- that a crime has been committed in that state, that the accused has been charged with the committing the crime, and that the accused has fled from justice; or
- that the accused has been convicted of a crime in that state and has escaped from confinement or broken the terms of her bail, probation, or parole, and is believed to be in Florida.
Under the first scenario, the accused need not have been formally charged with committing the out-of-state crime. Instead, the law only requires that a credible person alleges under oath before a Florida judge that the person committed a crime in the demanding state and has fled. This charge is often brought through a sworn criminal report affidavit.
In the second scenario, however, the person for whom the warrant is sought must have been formally charged in the demanding state with committing a crime in that state.
Procedural Due Process Requirements in Section 941.13
In Perry v. State, 842 So. 2d 301, 303 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003), the court reasoned that under section 941.13, the showing must satisfy the requirements of probable cause either for the issuance of an arrest warrant generally or at a pretrial non-adversary probable cause determination at a first appearance hearing under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.133(a)(3).
For this reason, the governor may issue an extradition warrant only after the demanding state governor has documented the following:
- there has been a judicial determination of probable cause; or
- in the absence of an extradition warrant a court may issue a fugitive warrant only after it has received either:
- a direct showing of probable cause; or
- proof that one has been made in the demanding state.
Requirements for a Warrantless Pre-Requisition Arrest under Section 941.14?
Warrantless pre-requisition arrests are permitted by section 941.14, provided that three elements are satisfied. Under the statute, an alleged fugitive may be arrested without a warrant that includes “reasonable information” that the person “stands charged in the courts of a state” with “a crime punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year . . . .”
Section 941.14 also provides that a person arrested without a warrant under that statute “must be taken before a judge with all practicable speed and complaint must be made against the accused under oath setting forth the ground for the arrest as in the preceding section; and thereafter his or her answer shall be heard as if the accused had been arrested on a warrant.”
Stated another way, as soon as practicable after a warrantless arrest, the probable cause requirements for obtaining a fugitive warrant under section 941.13 must be established.
Requirements for a Pre-requisition Arrest under Section 941.15?
When an accused fugitive is arrested pre-requisition, whether pursuant to a fugitive warrant or not, section 941.15 requires the judge to perform an examination to determine whether “it appears that the person held is the person charged with having committed the crime alleged and . . . that the person has fled from justice . . . .”
If so, the judge must issue a warrant reciting the accusation against the fugitive and committing her to the county jail for a specified period, not exceeding thirty days, pending her arrest on a governor’s rendition warrant. If the rendition warrant is not forthcoming during that period, the court may extend the commitment for up to sixty days. § 941.17, Fla. Stat.
In many of these cases, a person is detained even though the court has only arrest affidavits executed by the officer that made the arrest without any information concerning the offense that was allegedly committed.
In these cases, the warrantless arrest is not in compliance with section 941.14 because the arrest affidavits do not disclose how the officer who arrested the defendant came to learn that the defendant was wanted in another state.
If the officer obtained the information from a national law enforcement database, then the “reasonable information” prong of the statute might be satisfied. But without that information, the affidavits are ambiguous on the question of whether the defendant stood formally “charged in the courts” with any of the out-of-state offenses.
Additionally, the affidavits often say nothing about whether the offenses were punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, i.e., felonies. In these cases, the issue is whether the information held by the arresting officer at the time of the arrest in Florida was enough under section 941.14 to authorize the defendant’s warrantless arrests on the out-of-state charges.
In Owens v. Boyer, 207 So. 2d 29, 31 (Fla. 2d DCA 1968), the court held that the sufficiency of a rendition warrant must be determined at the time of the arrest, and rejected lower court’s reasoning that subsequent submission of omitted information cured defect in the warrant so as to render accused fugitive’s arrest legal.
If not, the criminal defense attorney can argue all of the reasons why this illegal arrest should result in the defendant’s immediate release from custody.
If you need a lawyer for an extradition case in Florida, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm. With offices in both downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County and New Port Richey in Pasco County, we can begin your defense today.
This article was last updated on Thursday, June 20, 2019.