The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article IV, Section 2, and Clause 2: “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.”
“The returning of a fugitive to the state where he committed his crime is called extradition. A fugitive may be extradited for any indictable offense under the laws of the demanding state, but the warrant of extradition must be based either upon a charge made by a person who has sworn he has a personal knowledge of the crime or upon the record of the trial in which the fugitive was convicted.” (See W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 632.)
The governor of the asylum state is responsible to insure that the fugitive will be treated fairly. The Constitution gives the governor the right to refuse to extradite the fugitive if he believes the accused may be lynched by a mob, etc.
According to Richard Peltz of The Heritage Foundation, the “Extradition or Interstate Rendition Clause derives from similar language in the Articles of Confederation, but the principle of extraction between governments dates to antiquity. The Framers’ purpose was to foster comity between states and to prevent criminals from evading law enforcement….
“On its face, the clause requires (1) a facially valid criminal charge in a demanding state, (2) a flight to an asylum state, and (3) an executive demand for return. The Framers specified the words `Treason’ and `Felony’ to show that political crimes warrant rendition, as well as `other crimes’ to comprehend all crimes, regardless of gravity….
“The clause suggests that deliberate flight is required. Thus, early scholars speculated, for example, that a person involuntarily removed from one state to a second state could not be rendered back or rendered forward to a third state. But consistently with the clause’s law-enforcement purpose, flight has been construed without regard to intent, requiring only that the person sought be alleged to have been physically present in the demanding state so as to commit an overt act in furtherance of a crime there…. The fact that a fugitive is present in an asylum state before the indictment is issued does not insulate him from rendition….” (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 273-274.)