Extradition on a Fugitive of Justice Warrant

When someone is accused of a crime in a different state and then runs to hide here in Pennsylvania, that person becomes a fugitive from justice. If that person is stopped for a traffic offense or any other reason, an interstate warrant will pop up, and the person will be detained and charged with being a fugitive of justice. Many states do not permit any bail to be set in such circumstances, and will simply hold the fugitive in custody pending a decision from the original jurisdiction to come get their fugitive.

Pennsylvania is one of the few places in the United States that sets bail on these cases. So, when I recently handled a preliminary arraignment for somebody on the run, bail was set at only twenty thousand dollars (ten percent). So, if that clielnt posts two thousand in cash, he can walk out of the Philadelphia jails, even though he is still a wanted man over in New Jersey. That is a great benefit to folks here, and it allows fugitives to travel to the original state to clean up the problem there without sitting here in Philadelphia waiting for an extradition hearing.

Here is the process in Philadelphia. All fugitive/extradition cases are listed in Criminal Miscellaneous Motions Court. Philadelphia gives other states a total of ninety (90) days to produce a 'governor's warrant', which is a warrant signed by the governor of the state where the fugitive ran from demanding the return of the fugitive. If there is no governor's warrant in those ninety days, Philadelphia dismisses the case and the fugitive is set free. (If bail has been paid, then bail is returned pursuant to normal court regulations. If the person has not bailed out of jail, he is released.)

If, however, there is a governor's warrant, then the court holds an extradition hearing. If the court is satisfied that the person before the court is in fact the same person wanted in a different state, then extradition is ordered. This means that Philadelphia will hold the fugitive in jail for up to thirty days while waiting for law enforcement from the original state to come to the jail and physically take custody of the fugitive.

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