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Beauchamp v. Elrod





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Richard J. Fitzgerald, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied November 1, 1985.

This is an appeal from an order of the circuit court of Cook County denying plaintiff's petition for writ of habeas corpus and remanding him to the custody of the sheriff of Cook County for extradition to the State of Massachusetts.

Plaintiff, Robert Beauchamp, after serving a one-year sentence for mail fraud, was released by Federal officials on February 16, 1983, to the custody of Illinois officials who held him on State misdemeanor charges of "deceptive practices." On February 17, 1983, plaintiff appeared in the circuit court, where it was discovered that there was a warrant out for his arrest. The warrant indicated he had escaped from prison in Massachusetts. After learning of plaintiff's fugitive status, Illinois officials dropped the deceptive practices charges against him and initiated extradition proceedings. Plaintiff's request for bail was denied.

Beauchamp's extradition package was received by Illinois officials from Massachusetts officials and, on April 15, 1983, Governor Thompson issued his rendition warrant. Plaintiff thereafter refused to waive extradition. Plaintiff filed a State habeas corpus action challenging his extradition. His petition for habeas corpus was denied on November 10, 1983.

Plaintiff now appeals the circuit court's decision. He argues that (1) material violations of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers compel his release, (2) material violations of the Illinois Uniform Criminal Extradition Act compel his release, (3) unreasonable delay by the State of Massachusetts in extraditing him violates his due process rights, (4) he is not a fugitive, and (5) he is entitled to bail.

Other relevant facts are incorporated into the opinion.


Extradition is governed by the United States Constitution and by Federal legislation. States may supplement Federal extradition regulations but they cannot impose more stringent requirements for extradition than Federal law requires. (People ex rel. Hernandez v. Elrod (1981), 86 Ill.2d 453, 456, 427 N.E.2d 1209, 1210.) However, States can surrender fugitives on terms less exacting than those imposed by Federal law. (People ex rel. Dimas v. Shimp (1980), 83 Ill. App.3d 150, 154, 403 N.E.2d 750, 752.) In Illinois, the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 60, pars. 18 through 49) governs the extradition of fugitives. Extradition proceedings are intended to be a summary and mandatory procedure for returning fugitives to the demanding State. It is not a judicial proceeding to inquire into the merits of the charge. (People ex rel. Millet v. Babb (1953), 1 Ill.2d 191, 195, 115 N.E.2d 241, 243.) Because of the summary nature of extradition proceedings, the scope of inquiry surrounding extradition proceedings does not include the kind of preliminary inquiry traditionally intervening between initial arrest and trial. Thus, the scope of inquiry in habeas corpus proceedings to determine the validity of extradition is limited to the following areas: (1) whether the extradition documents on their face are regular in form; (2) whether the petitioner has been charged with a crime in the demanding State; (3) whether the petitioner is the person named in the request for extradition; and (4) whether the petitioner is a fugitive. Michigan v. Doran (1978), 439 U.S. 282, 288-89, 58 L.Ed.2d 521, 527, 99 S.Ct. 530, 535.

Plaintiff first argues that Massachusetts officials' alleged inordinate delay in seeking his extradition violated his due process rights. The record shows the plaintiff escaped from a Massachusetts prison in 1974 while serving a life sentence for murder. After his escape, plaintiff used various aliases to evade the authorities. Massachusetts officials initially learned of plaintiff's whereabouts in 1981 when plaintiff was in California. They attempted to extradite him at that time. However, because of Federal charges pending against plaintiff, they were unable to complete extradition proceedings against him. Plaintiff was convicted of Federal income tax fraud and sentenced to nine months in prison. In March 1982, after serving his sentence for tax fraud, plaintiff was transferred to the Federal district court in Chicago to face charges of mail fraud. He was convicted of mail fraud and given a one-year sentence. On February 16, 1983, after serving his sentence for mail fraud, he was transferred from the Metropolitan Correction Center in Chicago to the Cook County jail, where he was held on Illinois misdemeanor charges of deceptive practices. On February 17, 1983, Cook County authorities discovered the plaintiff had escaped from prison while serving a life term for murder. Because of this, Illinois officials dropped the deceptive practices charges against plaintiff and immediately began the extradition process.

• 1 Extradition proceedings are intended to be a summary procedure to return the fugitive to the demanding State. The asylum forum is generally an inappropriate forum in which to raise constitutional questions that generally are appropriate only when raised as a defense to the underlying criminal charge. Such claims must be raised initially in the courts of the demanding State where an appropriate remedy can be fashioned. United States ex rel. McInery v. Shelley (N.D. Ill. 1981), 524 F. Supp. 499, 503.

Illinois, nevertheless, recognizes an exception to this rule. Extradition has been denied on constitutional grounds where extraordinary circumstances exist and fundamental fairness requires a finding that the demanding State forfeited its right to extradite the defendant. (People ex rel. Bowman v. Woods (1970), 46 Ill.2d 572, 575, 264 N.E.2d 151, 153.) The fundamental fairness-due process issue is addressed by the court in its review of extradition proceedings where there has been an inordinate delay in the demanding State seeking extradition that is not attributed to the accused. See People ex rel. Bowman v. Woods (1970), 46 Ill.2d 572, 264 N.E.2d 151; United States ex rel. McInery v. Shelley (N.D. Ill. 1981), 524 F. Supp. 499.

Plaintiff cites People ex rel. Bowman v. Woods (1970), 46 Ill.2d 572, 264 N.E.2d 151, in support of his argument that his due process rights were violated. In People ex rel. Bowman, the petitioner was twice arrested in Illinois on warrants from the State of Alabama for escaping from custody on charges of stealing cows. Alabama failed to follow through on the extradition proceedings by not extraditing petitioner who was released by Illinois officials each time after Alabama failed to follow through. When petitioner was arrested in Illinois a third time on the same Alabama warrant, 13 years after the first arrest, he challenged the third extradition. The court held that because Alabama's dilatory tactics resulted in an unexplained 13-year delay between the first and last extradition proceedings, Alabama had forfeited its right to enforce extradition of Bowman. (46 Ill.2d 572, 575, 264 N.E.2d 151.) The court reasoned that fundamental fairness-due process required the forfeiture of the right to extradite because of the extraordinary circumstances of the unexplained 13-year delay. 46 Ill.2d 572, 575, 264 N.E.2d 151.

• 2 No such extraordinary circumstances exist in plaintiff's case. The 11-year delay between plaintiff's escape and the Massachusetts extradition was due primarily to his evasion of the authorities. Moreover, once Massachusetts officials learned of plaintiff's whereabouts, they began extradition proceedings and diligently followed through on those proceedings. Lastly, the interval between plaintiff's arrest in Illinois by State officials and the filing of the petition for habeas corpus was less than four months, a ...

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