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Cohen v. Sheahan

July 14, 1998

BERNARD COHEN, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
MICHAEL SHEAHAN, SHERIFF OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Rakowski

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County.

H.C. No. 50037

Honorable Thomas R. Fitzgerald, judge Presiding.

Federal and Illinois law provide that the Governor of Illinois must honor a demanding state's request for extradition where that state presents proper documentation showing that the person is subject to extradition. In turn, the Illinois Governor must prepare a rendition warrant reflecting the information that the demanding state provided. A valid rendition warrant is the authority upon which the judiciary executes extradition proceedings.

This appeal turns on whether the rendition warrant, together with the evidence in the record, satisfactorily shows that petitioner is extraditable where neither specifies that petitioner has been charged with a crime in the demanding state. We find that without such information, petitioner is not subject to extradition. Accordingly, we reverse.

FACTS

The uncontested facts are gleaned from petitioner's affidavit filed in support of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner, Bernard Cohen, was driving through Missouri when he was pulled over by police. The police discovered that petitioner was hauling 100 kilograms of marijuana in his vehicle. After being taken to a police station and meeting with an attorney, petitioner agreed to cooperate with federal authorities by delivering his vehicle with the marijuana to his contact person in Chicago. In turn, the federal authorities assured petitioner that he was not and would not be charged with any crime or fingerprinted, photographed, or booked, and that he would be home before he knew it.

Two days later in Chicago, petitioner made his first attempt to deliver the car and the marijuana, but he was unsuccessful because the contact person was not at the delivery location. Likewise, petitioner failed to deliver the vehicle and the drugs the next day, and, as a consequence, the law enforcement officer in charge told petitioner that "all deals were off" and that he was going to jail. Petitioner was ultimately taken to Cook County jail.

Sometime later, the Governor of Missouri made a demand to the Governor of Illinois for the extradition of petitioner. The Illinois Governor prepared a rendition warrant alleging that petitioner is wanted for trafficking drugs through the State of Missouri. Respondent, Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan, detained petitioner pursuant to the rendition warrant.

Subsequently, petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus. The trial court granted respondent's motion to dismiss, and petitioner now appeals. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Supreme Court Rules 601, 602, and 603. 134 Ill. 2d Rs. 601, 602, 603. Discussion

Extradition proceedings are summary in fashion and encompass a narrow scope of review. People v. Martin, 208 Ill. App. 3d 857, 860 (1991); People ex rel. Shockley v. Hardiman, 152 Ill. App. 3d 38, 41 (1987); Beauchamp v. Elrod, 137 Ill. App. 3d 208, 211 (1985); see People v. Cheek, 93 Ill. 2d 82, 90 (1982). See 2 R. Ruebner, Illinois Criminal Procedure §7.34, at 7-86 (2d ed. 1997). The Supreme Court of the United States has mandated that in a habeas corpus proceeding challenging extradition, the court of the asylum state may only consider: "(a) whether the extradition documents on their face are in order; (b) whether the petitioner has been charged with a crime in the demanding state; (c) whether the petitioner is the person named in the request for extradition; and (d) whether the petitioner is a fugitive." California v. Superior Court of California, 482 U.S. 400, 408, 96 L. Ed. 2d 332, 341, 107 S. Ct. 2433, 2434 (1987); 2 R. Ruebner, Illinois Criminal Procedure §7.34, at 7-86 (2d ed. 1997).

Focussing on the second category of review, petitioner contends that the Illinois Governor's rendition warrant is legally deficient and cannot be the basis for his extradition because there is no evidence showing that Missouri charged him with a crime. Specifically, petitioner argues that the warrant is deficient because the record fails to contain or identify either an indictment, an information supported by affidavit, or a warrant supported by an affidavit made before a magistrate.

Before addressing the merits of petitioner's claim, however, we first dispose of respondent's contention that petitioner waived this argument since he failed to raise it in the trial court. The waiver rule upon which respondent relies is a limitation upon the parties and is not a limitation upon the court because the court is still charged with reaching a just result. Committee for Educational Rights v. Edgar, 174 Ill. 2d 1, 11 (1996); People v. Hoskins, 101 Ill. 2d 209, 219 (1984). After review of the rendition warrant in conjunction with the record, we find that this issue is dispositive and elect to address it.

The absolute right of a state to demand extradition of an individual who is in another state stems from the extradition clause of the United States Constitution. See U.S. Const., art. IV, §2, cl. 2. Pursuant to the extradition clause, Congress enacted the Extradition Act, requiring asylum states to extradite fugitives upon a demanding state's proper requisition. See 18 U.S.C. §3181 (1994). However, to facilitate extradition proceedings, states like Illinois adopted the provisions of the Uniform ...


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