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​Summary Overview Statement and Levels of Authority

Summary Overview Statement

In extradition matters, an asylum state must comply with the rendition clause of the U.S. Constitution per Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2, the Federal Statute of the U.S. Code per Title 18, Part II, Chapter 209, Section 3182, and the asylum state's statute of the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA).  For Pennsylvania, the UCEA is Title 42 - Chapter 91.  The constitutional and federal statutory provisions are referred jointly as the Federal Act and control the extradition process.  All states must follow the Federal Act.  The Federal Act governs extradition between states or between a territory or district and a state. The act does not apply to the transfer of individuals between a state and a federal jurisdiction.  The Constitution provides for extradition, which includes ―treason, felony or other crimes, thus including misdemeanors.  The Supreme Court has said that while states may provide for extradition in situations not governed by federal law, they may not impose undue restrictions upon the constitutional rights of sister states to seek extradition under federal law.
Over time, each state has developed their own special requirements that a demanding state has to satisfy in order to extradite a person from that asylum state. The Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA) was proposed in an effort to reduce confusion and uncertainty about what was required by the various states.  The original version of the UCEA along with annotations may be found in Volume 11, Uniform Laws Annotated, Master Edition (2003), Appendix I, pages 294-660.  Every state has the right to impose rules that they deem necessary, but must minimally comply with the Federal Act.   The major distinction between the UCEA and the Federal Act are: 

1. A specific provision is made for the extradition of a convicted person in that a requisition is sufficient, if it is supported by a certified copy of a judgment or sentence together with a statement by the executive authority of the demanding state that the person has escaped or violated the terms of his/her parole or probation;

2. Extradition is now possible even though the accused was never personally present in the demanding state, since he/she may be extradited if he/she did acts outside that state intentionally resulting in a crime in the demanding state;

3. Procedures have been established for the orderly rendition of a fugitive requiring an arraignment and an opportunity to petition for a writ of habeas corpus; and

4. Procedures have been established for the detention of a fugitive for a period of time to allow the respective Governors to issue their requisitions and rendition warrants.


International extradition is governed wholly by federal law, individual treaties, the documentary requirements, and the types of offenses, which are extraditable.  When information is received that a fugitive is located in a foreign country, your first step should be to contact the Office of International Affairs.  When a foreign country is requesting extradition of a fugitive located in the United States, it is coordinated through the United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Office of International Affairs.

Except for Louisiana, North Dakota and South Carolina, the 47 other states and the territories of the United States have adopted their version of UCEA.  As expected, there are slight differences between the states.  Louisiana, North Dakota and South Carolina have enacted extradition laws similar to those set forth in the UCEA.  As such, the National Association of Extradition Officials (NAEO) was established with a primary focus on minimum, uniform and legally sufficient extradition requirements.  NAEO publishes a yearly law report, which summarizes case rulings involving extradition law while making procedural recommendations in response to those rulings.  It is important to note that within the NAEO Manual there is reference to the corresponding UCEA section.  The NAEO organization seeks concurrence from each state to promote uniformity in the interpretation and application of extradition laws and procedures.  NOT all states choose to be members of the NAEO organization.  Consistent with the majority of states, the NAEO Manual is the guidance for all states.  The point of discussion is with the nuances of our own UCEA while coordinating and satisfying the nuances of the asylum states with whom we are conducting an extradition.    

On behalf of the Governor of Pennsylvania, the responsibility for directing extradition matters with other states lies with the Director of Extradition and Capital Case Management in the Criminal Unit of the Pennsylvania Governor's Office of General Counsel (OGC).  The NAEO Manual, Appendix "D" is titled "Special State Requirements for Extradition" and captures some of the special state requirements.  OGC has compiled an additional list of special requirements and this can be found on the "Procedures" tab of this website.  It is mentioned herewith in order that the Pennsylvania extradition coordinators are mindful of these special requirements, which will be invoked by OGC in their processing efforts of extradition matters with asylum states.