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Can a person get bail pending extradition from Colorado to another state?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Feb 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

In the majority of circumstances under CRS 16-19-103, a defendant who faces extradition in Colorado to another state (the "demanding state") can be released on bail pending the final determination and processing of the demanding state's request. However, judges will not grant bail in Colorado in the following four circumstances:

  1. the penalty for the crime the defendant is accused of is punishable by death or life in prison;
  2. the defendant allegedly escaped from jail, prison, or police custody in the demanding state;
  3. the defendant allegedly violated the terms of his/her sentence, parole, probation, or bail; or
  4. the defendant executed a written waiver of extradition

Certainly, judges are more likely to grant bail when the defendant has not missed any court appearances and has no other alleged violations of the law.

Waiving extradition from Colorado

The decision for an alleged fugitive to fight extradition or "waive" extradition is personal and depends on the case. Two reasons a person may consider waiving extradition and willingly returning to the demanding state are:

  1. the alleged fugitive receives promises from the demanding state's prosecuting attorneys that he/she will be rewarded with leniency if he/she agrees to waive extradition; or
  2. the alleged fugitive simply wants to "get it over with" and return back to the demanding state and get the criminal case resolved as soon as possible

However, there is a big drawback to waiving extradition from Colorado to the demanding state: The alleged fugitive is no longer eligible for bail while waiting for the demanding state to transport him/her back. In some cases, alleged fugitives who waive extradition wait weeks or longer in a Colorado jail before they are taken back to the demanding state.

Defending against extradition from Colorado

There are various ways to fight extradition from Colorado to the demanding state. Three common defenses to extradition include:

  1. Improper Procedures: If law enforcement did not follow the UCEA (Uniform Criminal Extradition Act) to the letter, then it may be possible for an alleged fugitive to escape extradition. Procedures must be strictly adhered to. Although otherwise small defects in paperwork or procedures may not stop the extradition process, they could slow it. And depending on the case, this extra time could help the defense attorney craft a better defense.
  2. Mistaken Identity: In some cases, police arrest the wrong person. This may be especially likely in fugitive situations where someone crossed state lines, and the out-of-state police are going on a vague description of the suspect. Mix-ups can also happen when the alleged fugitive has a common name or an identical name to someone else that may resemble the suspect. If the defendant can show that he/she is not the person authorities were seeking, then the extradition should be dropped.
  3. Writ of Habeas Corpus: A writ of habeas corpus hearing is when the alleged fugitive argues that the court does not have the right to arrest him/her, and that his/her detention is illegal. Extradition should be dropped if the alleged fugitive wins the writ of habeas corpus hearing.

Learn more about Colorado extradition laws.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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