A formal process by which a criminal suspect held by one government is handed over to another government for trial or, if the suspect has already been tried and found guilty, to serve his or her sentence.
n. the surrender by one state or country of a person charged with a crime in another state or country. Formally, the request of the state (usually through the Governor’s office) claiming the right to prosecute is made to the Governor of the state in which the accused is present. Occasionally a Governor will refuse to extradite (send the person back) if he/she is satisfied that the prosecution is not warranted, despite a constitutional mandate that “on demand of the Executive Authority of the State from which [a fugitive from justice] fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime.” The defendant may “waive extradition” and allow himself/herself to be taken into custody and returned to the state where charges are pending. International extradition is more difficult and is governed in many cases by treaty. While most countries will extradite persons charged with serious crimes, some will not, others refuse to extradite for certain crimes, set up legal roadblocks, or, as in Canada’s case, will not extradite if the accused may get the death penalty.