Habeas Corpus in Extradition Cases 

If you are being held in Florida for extradition to answer criminal charges in another state, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.

We can help you fight for an extradition bond so that you can be released from custody. Extradition is a slow and expensive process and better alternatives might exist.

If the court refuses to release you on a reasonable extradition bond, if it takes to long to be picked up, or if your detention is otherwise illegal, we can help you file a petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Habeas corpus proceedings test the legality and propriety of a detention in an extradition case. When the petition is successful, it means you person awaiting extradition will immediately be released from the county jail.

Attorney for Habeas Corpus in Extradition Cases in Florida

If you believe that your detention in Florida pending extradition to another state is not legal, then talk with your attorney about whether you have a basis for filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. 

In an extradition case, our appellate attorneys can help you file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in a Florida case if the trial court abuses its discretion by refusing to grant a reasonable bond pending the issuance of the extradition warrant. 

In many of these cases, filing the writ of habeas corpus might be the best way to secure your release from custody while awaiting the insurance of an extradition warrant in another state. 

In some cases, your detention becomes unlawful under Florida’s statutory time limits for extradition under section 941.15.

Call 813-250-0500.

The Trial Court’s Discretion to Grant an Extradition Bond

The petition for writ of Habeas Corpus can be used to show the procedural problems that occurred when the trial judge abused its discretion in making the decision to further the detention without granting an extradition bond. Other issues including an argument that the trial judge did not possess the authority to exercise such discretion. 

The Uniform Extradition Act, codified in chapter 941, Florida Statutes, gives the judge wide discretion to decide whether to hold a fugitive in custody without bail. See §§ 941.15-.16, Fla. Stat. 

The trial court’s discretion is restricted by statutory time limits for which a fugitive can be held. These time limits ensure that a defendant will not be held indefinitely.

The court can also use its discretion to grant an extradition bond so that the person can be released while waiting for the extradition warrant to be issued from the other state.

Waiver of the Asylum State’s Jurisdiction

Most states follow a rule that the “issuance of an extradition warrant does not constitute a waiver of the asylum state’s jurisdiction.” Jenkins v. State, 479 So.2d 864, 865 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985). 

Florida follows this rule that the issuance of the extradition warrant does not constitute a waiver of the asylum state’s jurisdiction as explained in section 941.19 which provides: 

If a criminal prosecution has been instituted against such person under the laws of this state and is still pending, the Governor, in his or her discretion, either may surrender the person on demand of the executive authority of another state or hold the person until he or she has been tried and discharged or convicted and punished in this state.

Vargas v. Junior, 254 So. 3d 1092, 1095 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018).

“In a habeas corpus proceeding contesting the validity and propriety of an extradition warrant issued by the governor, the accused has the burden to overcome by competent proof the prima facie case made by the extradition warrant.” Kohler v. Sandstrom, 305 So.2d 76, 77 (Fla. 3d DCA 1974).

Statutory Time Limits for Extradition Out of Florida

How long can you be held for extradition? According to section 941.15, while a fugitive awaits requisition, “the judge must, by a warrant reciting the accusation, commit the person to the county jail for such a time not exceeding 30 days ….” 

The relevant exception within section 941.15 is “unless the accused gives bail as provided in s. 941.16 ….” 

After the section 941.15 time limit of 30 days expires, section 941.17 allows for an extension of time of commitment, as follows:

“If the accused is not arrested under warrant of the Governor by the expiration of the time specified in the warrant or bond, a judge may discharge the accused or may recommit him or her for a further period not to exceed 60 days ….” 

Therefore, after a total of 90 days, if the person is not arrested under the governor’s warrant, then the trial court must discharge the person on the fugitive warrant. 

In Carter v. Coleman, 443 So.2d 491, 492-93 (Fla. 2d DCA 1984), the court noted:

“the trial judge ‘dismissed’ the proceedings against appellant on the grounds that the Governor’s warrant had not been forthcoming within the maximum statutory ninety-day time period, ….

[T]he trial court, in compliance with section 941.17, Florida Statutes (1981), intended only to dismiss its own court proceedings and to discharge the fugitive warrant ….

Such a discharge from bond or custody does not mean dismissal of all extradition proceedings.

Thus, appellant’s rearrest on a valid Governor’s warrant issued after such discharge is not barred.”

In these cases, the State of Florida might receive notification that the other state has issued a fugitive warrant against the person. As a result, the prosecutor in Florida might issue a Complaint/Arrest affidavit in the circuit court with a case number on the fugitive warrant. 

Thereafter, the issue is whether 90 days have passed from the date the case was filed on the fugitive warrant issue. Until the expiration of the 90 day statutory time limit, the detention in the county jail in Florida is legal and is pending the resolution of the other state’s fugitive warrant process. 

Contact us about whether you have a basis to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in an extradition case in Tampa, Hillsborough County, or the surrounding areas throughout Florida.

This article was last updated on Friday, August 23, 2019.