Questions surrounding Extradition and a Governor's Warrant seem to come across my desk a few times a year. Many people are unfamiliar with the court process of Colorado Extradition (Extradite), so I thought I'd share few of the basics concerning the process of someone in Colorado being forced to return to another state, or someone in another state being forced to return to Colorado.
While states like Colorado are sovereign, we do have a relationship with other states to ensure that each of our laws are complied with and that offenders of these laws can't go into hiding across a state border. C.R.S. 16-19-104 details the demand (Extradition) one state makes to another state for the return of a fugitive under an agreement between member states to the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act.
When a wanted person is found in Denver, Jefferson, Douglas, Arapahoe, or Adams County, they can be arrested for extradition or to extradite under the foreign state's warrant, which is usually found in the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) computers. Generally, foreign states only seek to extradite on more serious felonies like Homicide (Murder) and Sexual Assault. Next, the foreign state must demand the production of the wanted person in writing verified by the governor of the foreign state.
Once Colorado receives the proper written demand, it is the duty of the Colorado governor to have the wanted person arrested and delivered to the governor of the foreign state. The Colorado governor will then execute a Governor's Warrant commanding the arrest of the person wanted by the foreign jurisdiction, and this will cause the arrest of the wanted person if they are not already in custody.
Once arrested, the accused will be given a brief hearing before a Colorado Court to ensure that the arrest and Extradition are in order. The accused does this by a Writ of Habeas Corpus, which is a civil proceeding. Generally speaking, the accused cannot prevent his or her Extradition to another state. The Habeas Corpus hearing is very simplified and is not designed to test the merits of the charges in the foreign state - but just be ensure that the procedural requirements for the local arrest and transfer to the foreign state are complied with.
The process we've discussed in this blog also applies to you if you are in another state and have been arrested there to return to Colorado. If you are charged with a crime in Colorado or a foreign state, your return to Colorado or the foreign state implicates serious constitutional rights issues. Be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact a criminal law specialist at the O'Malley Law Office today, at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.