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In re Extradition of Crismatt

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

May 30, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF THE EXTRADITION OF VICTOR MANUEL CRISMATT, JR.

          ORDER

          CAROL MIRANDO United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court upon review of a request for the extradition of Victor Manuel Crismatt Jr. (“Crismatt” or “extraditee”) filed by the United States on behalf of the Republic of Panama (“Panama”) pursuant to the Treaty between the United States of America and Panama, Providing for the Extradition of Criminals, signed on May 25, 1904, 34 Stat. 2851 (the “Treaty”). Docs. 29, 33-1.

         On October 10, 2016, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3184 and Article IV of the Treaty, the United States, acting for and on behalf of Panama, filed a Complaint for Provisional Arrest with a View towards Extradition (the “Complaint”). Doc. 2 ¶¶ 1-4. Crismatt is charged in the Province of Coclé, Panama with Aggravated Homicide by killing and dismembering his father on or about August 4, 2016. Id. ¶¶ 5-6. On August 5, 2016, the Court of Guarantees for the Province of Coclé issued a warrant for Crismatt's arrest. Id. ¶ 5. Crismatt is a United States citizen and currently is located in Fort Myers, Florida. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. The United States on behalf of Panama seeks to extradite Crismatt pursuant to the Treaty and 18 U.S.C. § 3184. Docs. 2, 29.

         Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3184 and the Complaint, a warrant directing the arrest of Crismatt was executed on October 11, 2016. Doc. 9. After his arrest, Crismatt appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Mac R. McCoy on October 12, 2016, who advised Crismatt of the proceedings against him and appointed Assistant Federal Defender Martin DerOvanesian to represent Crismatt. Docs. 5, 8. After requesting a detention hearing, Crismatt waived the issue of detention and did not seek release pending extradition, and Judge McCoy ordered that Crismatt be detained without prejudice pending extradition proceedings and extradition. Doc. 13 at 1.

         The United States filed electronic copies of the documentary support for the request for extradition in Spanish (Docs. 27, 39) and translations in English (Doc. 28). The United States also filed a memorandum of law in support of extradition. Doc. 30. Crismatt submitted two responses in opposition. Docs. 33, 37. The United States filed a reply brief in opposition to Crismatt's first response. Doc. 36. On May 18, 2017, the undersigned held a hearing on the request for extradition. Doc. 40. Crismatt appeared with his counsel, and the United States, acting for and on behalf of Panama, was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Michelland. Doc. 41. At the hearing, the United States presented the hard copy originals of the documentary support for the request for extradition in Spanish and translations in English, the Treaty, and a letter from the United States Department of State confirming receipt of the formal extradition request from Panama dated December 9, 2016. Government Exhibits 1-3, 4A-D, 5A-D.[1]

         During the hearing, Crismatt's counsel renewed his arguments made in his two filed responses (Docs. 33, 37), specifically noting his position that the Treaty does not apply to him, and represented that Crismatt's position remains the same as stated in his two responses. In addition, Crismatt's counsel informed the Court that he wished to preserve and maintain the rule of specialty at Article VIII of the Treaty.[2]See Doc. 33-1 at 5; Gov. Ex. 1.

         I. Evidence in Support of Extradition Request

         Title 18, United States Code, Section 3190 governs the admissibility of documents offered during an extradition hearing. Afanasjev v. Hurlburt, 418 F.3d 1159, 1164 (11th Cir. 2005). Section 3190 provides that:

Depositions, warrants, or other papers or copies thereof offered in evidence upon the hearing of any extradition case shall be received and admitted as evidence on such hearing for all the purposes of such hearing if they shall be properly and legally authenticated so as to entitle them to be received for similar purposes by the tribunals of the foreign country from which the accused party shall have escaped, and the certificate of the . . . consular officer of the United States resident in such foreign country shall be proof that the same, so offered, are authenticated in the manner required.

18 U.S.C. § 3190.

         During the hearing, with no objection by Crismatt, the Court found that the documents submitted by the United States on behalf of Panama are properly authenticated in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 3190. In compliance with the statute, the United States submitted the certificate of Alice F. Seddon (“Seddon”), Consul General of the United State Embassy in Panama City. See genera ly Docs. 28-1 at 2; 28-2 at 1; 28-5 at 1; 28-7 at 1. Seddon certified that the supporting documents submitted by Panama are properly and legally authenticated so as to entitle them to be received in evidence for similar purposes by the tribunals of Panama as required by 18 U.S.C. § 3190. Doc. 28-1 at 2. Accordingly, the Court admitted the documents into evidence during the hearing. Docs. 27, 28, 40, 41; Gov. Ex. 1-3, 4A-D, 5A-D.

         II. Extradition

         The matter of international extradition of fugitives is governed by 18 U.S.C. §§ 3184, et seq. when there is a treaty of extradition between the United States and any foreign government. The statute provides in relevant part:

Whenever there is a treaty or convention for extradition between the United States and any foreign government, . . . any magistrate judge authorized so to do by a court of the United States, . . . may, upon complaint made under oath, charging any person found within his jurisdiction, with having committed within the jurisdiction of any such foreign government any of the crimes provided for by such treaty or convention, . . . issue his warrant for the apprehension of the person so charged, that he may be brought before such . . . magistrate judge, to the end that the evidence of criminality may be heard and considered. . . . If, on such hearing, he deems the evidence sufficient to sustain the charge under the provisions of the proper treaty or convention, or under section 3181(b), he shall certify the same, together with a copy of all the testimony taken before him, to the Secretary of State, that a warrant may issue upon the requisition of the proper authorities of such foreign ...

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