Browsing the Internet today I saw a story about a twenty two year old man being charged with statutory rape in Massachusetts. The man, Matthew Pos was arrested out of state and is being held pending a rendition hearing. Rendition is the process of one state sending a suspect in a criminal case to the state where the criminal charge is pending. All states have some sort of rendition law. Some people refer to this process as extradition. This post provides a synopsis of how rendition laws work and when they should be challenged or waived.
How Does the Rendition Process Work?
The large majority of states have become party to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act or the Uniform Criminal Interstate Rendition Act, or both. These laws facilitate the process of getting the suspect into the proper court from one state to another. With these laws come rights. Prisoners have the right to challenge the extradition effort. They also have the right to argue for bail. Deciding whether or not to challenge the process should be made with the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
When is it Better to Waive Rendition?
Any time that you are definitely going to have to defend a criminal prosecution in another state you should consider waiving rendition. This sends the judge and the district attorney the message that you are willing to return to defend your case. That will be a significant factor for the judge in determining what bail should be set. Keep in mind that not everyone who is arrested out of state is considered a flight risk. Many people who are alleged to have committed a crime in Massachusetts live in another state or moved to another state before being charged with a criminal complaint or indictment. Others were never served with criminal process in Massachusetts. Sometimes the district attorney, clerk’s office or police had an incorrect address for the suspect. Agreeing to come back to Massachusetts tells the judge that you will appear in court when necessary and answer to the charges.
It is also advisable to waive rendition in cases where your defense needs some immediate attention. For instance, 911 calls and police dispatch recordings are not always kept indefinitely. Sometimes these records are destroyed in a matter of months or even days. There might be material on those items that will help your case or even prove your innocence. Other times there are material witnesses who need to be interviewed before their memories fade, or before the police intimidate them or before they leave the area and can no longer be located. Waiving rendition in that case will permit you and your lawyer to start the investigation process sooner. Sometimes, the arresting state will not admit you to bail whereas the judges in the state where your case in pending might be inclined to do so. In that case, why challenge the extradition and remain locked up when you might get out once you are arraigned in the prosecuting court.
When is it Better for me to Fight Extradition?
The obvious situation is where you are not the person the authorities believe committed the crime. I have seen this happen where the person arrested has the same name as the suspect or similar identifying characteristics. I have also seen this happen where the actual criminal was committing crimes using an innocent person’s identification. Under these circumstances, I recommend my clients challenge rendition at every turn.
Massachusetts Aggressive Criminal Defense Law Firm
In any matter where someone is alleged to have committed a crime it is best to hire a criminal defense lawyer. Protecting your rights is what we do every day, all year. Call us at 617-263-6800 anytime to discuss how to defend your case.