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Extradition to Pinellas County, FL

Extradition involves the detention of a person in one jurisdiction until the individual can be picked up and transported to another jurisdiction in another state to stand trial for a crime. Extradition can also be used to secure the return of a person who has left a state after being convicted of a crime. A person being held for extradition is called a “fugitive” or a “fugitive from justice.”

Florida’s version of the Uniform Interstate Extradition Act in §§ 941.13 through 941.18, Fla. Stat., explains the procedures for holding the alleged fugitive before and in anticipation that the governor’s warrant will be issued. The act provides that an alleged fugitive may be held for up to 90 days while awaiting the governor’s warrant.

Attorneys for Extradition to Pinellas County, FL

If you have an outstanding felony warrant pending in Clearwater or Pinellas County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We can help you determine the best way to deal with the warrant. In some cases, it might be possible to avoid extradition by hiring a local attorney to contact the State Attorney’s Office in Pinellas County, FL.

The authorities only extradite a person for a felony. Many extradition cases involve a person being put on probation and then violating that probaiton for leaving the state. We often represent clients with outstanding felony warrant that were issued 10, 20 or even 30 years ago. Let us put our experience to work for you.

Call (813) 250-0500.


Interstate Extradition in Florida

Extradition between states was addressed in the U.S. Constitution in Art. IV, § 2, cl. 2, U.S. Const., as follows:

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

This provision “was intended to enable each state to bring offenders to trial as swiftly as possible in the state where the alleged offense was committed.” Michigan v. Doran, 439 U.S. 282, 287–288, 99 S. Ct. 530, 534, 58 L. Ed. 2d 521 (1978).

Additionally, the purpose of the provision was “to preclude any state from becoming a sanctuary for fugitives from justice of another state,” and that “[the provision] articulated, in mandatory language, the concepts of comity and full faith and credit….” Id. 

Congress enacted enabling legislation which provides:

Whenever the executive authority of any State or Territory demands any person as a fugitive from justice, of the executive authority of any State, District, or Territory to which such person has fled, and produces a copy of an indictment found or an affidavit made before a magistrate of any State or Territory, charging the person demanded with having committed treason, felony, or other crime, certified as authentic by the governor or chief magistrate of the State or Territory from whence the person so charged has fled, the executive authority of the State, District, or Territory to which such person has fled shall cause to be arrested and secured, and notify the executive authority making such demand, or the agent of such authority appointed to receive the fugitive, and shall cause the fugitive to be delivered to such agent when he shall appear. If no such agent appears within thirty days from the time of the arrest, the prisoner may be discharged.

18 U.S.C.A. § 3182.

The law places no obligation on a state to demand the extradition of an accused. Instead, the provisions put the obligation on the asylum state to extradite the defendant when the demanding state has complied with the statutory formalities.


Florida’s Uniform Interstate Extradition Act

To implement a more coherent process for interstate extradition, almost all of the state (including Florida) have enacted the Uniform Interstate Extradition Act. In Florida, the Uniform Interstate Extradition Act appears in Part I of Chapter 941, Florida Statutes.

Under Florida law, the governor or other executive authority of the asylum state is required to arrest and deliver to the demanding state any person who is physically present in the asylum state and is charged with a crime in the demanding state if the proper requisition demand is made.

When a Florida state attorney or another authorized person wants to secure the return of a person to Florida from another state pursuant to extradition procedures, the state attorney or another authorized person must submit a proper application for issuance of requisition demand to the Governor of Florida. The persons authorized to apply and the required contents of the application are specified in the Act. See § 941.23, Fla. Stat.

When the fugitive is arrested, the fugitive is entitled to the assistance of counsel. If the alleged fugitive is indigent, he is entitled to the services of court-appointed counsel as provided in § 941.10, Fla. Stat. The fugitive has the choice of waiving the requirements for further extradition proceedings and voluntarily return to the demanding state (often called “waiving extradition”).

Before you decide how to proceed in an extradition case for charges pending in Pinellas County, FL, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We fight serious felony cases and violations of probation in Clearwater and St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, FL.


Statutory Time Limits for Extradition in Florida

Florida law provides for several times limits imposed by statute. 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 . . . .”

Under section 941.16, the trial judge has discretion when deciding whether to admit the alleged fugitive to bail by bond on the fugitive warrant as the language of the statute is permissive because it uses the term “may.”

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 . . . .”

For this reason, after a total of 90 days, if the alleged fugitive is not arrested under the governor’s warrant, then the trial court must discharge the defendant on the fugitive warrant.

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

“[t]he 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.”

If the State of Florida receives notification that the other state has issued a fugitive warrant, Florida will issue a Complaint/Arrest affidavit on the fugitive warrant. After the fugitive warrant, the court has 90 days 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 jail is legal and is pending the resolution of the other state’s fugitive warrant process.


This article was last updated on Friday, October 26, 2018.