Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Extradition of Correa

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

December 18, 2017




         THIS CAUSE came before the Court for an extradition hearing on December 13, 2017. The United States of America, acting on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, first filed a complaint for the arrest with a view toward extradition of Daniel Rodrigo Correa (hereinafter "Defendant") to the Netherlands on the charges of unlawful imprisonment, co-perpetration of the removal of a minor from the custody of a person who exercises parental authority over him or her, and participation in a criminal organization. [DE 47]. For the reasons stated below, this Court GRANTS the request for an order certifying extradition.

         I. Procedural Background

         On February 23, 2017, the United States filed a Complaint for Arrest with a View Toward Extradition seeking a warrant for Correa's arrest, which was issued and executed that same day. [DE 1]. The United States was acting on the request of the Government of the Netherlands, pursuant to Article 11 of the extradition treaty between the United States and the Netherlands ("the Treaty"). Article 11 provides for the provisional arrest and detention of alleged fugitives pending the submission of a formal request for extradition and supporting documents. [DE 1, ¶¶ 1, 4]. The Netherlands sought Correa's provisional arrest on one charge: violently abducting a minor in violation of Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Netherlands. [DE 1, ¶ 5].

         On April 26, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion to Terminate Provisional Arrest or in the Alternative to Immediately Set Bond [DE 20], and on May 3, 2017, the Government filed a response in opposition to the motion. [DE 23]. The Court held a hearing on May 8, 2017, and denied Defendant's motion as to both terminating the provisional arrest and to setting bond. [DE 26]. In an affidavit dated May 12, 2017, and entered onto the docket on May 17, 2017, Correa consented to be extradited to the Netherlands. [DE 29]. On May 25, 2017, the Court held an extradition hearing and accepted Correa's consent. The Court entered the Certification and Committal for Extradition on the single offense identified in the complaint. [DE 35, ¶ 6].

         Prior to the entry of this order, the United States State Department received the formal request for Correa's extradition and supporting documents, copies of which were made available to Correa's counsel. However, both parties failed to note that the Extradition Request sought Correa's extradition on three charges rather than one: (1) co-perpetration of unlawful imprisonment, in violation of Section 282 of the Dutch Criminal Code; (2) co-perpetration of the removal of a minor from the custody of a person who exercises parental authority over him or her, in violation of Section 279 of the same code; and (3) participation in a criminal organization, in violation of Section 140 of the same code. Thus, the Court's certification [DE 35] did not reflect these three charges but only the single earlier charge of violently abducting a minor in violation of Article 282.

         Because the certification did not refer to all three charges for which extradition has been requested, the Secretary of State did not authorize Correa's surrender, and the Government has not yet surrendered Correa to the Netherlands. The Government moved to reopen the extradition proceedings against Correa in order to obtain a certification for extradition which refers to all three charges. [DE 40]. After determining that the Court retained both personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction over the Defendant, and deciding it was in the interest of judicial economy to reopen the extradition proceedings, the Court granted the Government's Motion to Reopen Extradition Proceedings. [DE 46]. The Government filed its Memorandum of Law in Support of Extradition on November 22, 2017, [DE 47] and the Court held an extradition hearing on December 13, 2017.

         II. Factual Background

         According to Dutch authorities, Defendant is an associate of Shehzad Shabbirall Hemani ("Hemani"). Hemani and his wife, Nadia Rashid ("Ms. Rashid"), were separated in 2015. [DE 47, pg. 3]. On March 1, 2016, a Dutch court awarded temporary custody of their minor daughter, I.H., to Ms. Rashid. Id. I.H. was born in 2014. Id. The Dutch court was scheduled to hold a hearing regarding the couple's divorce and determination of final custody of the minor child on September 30, 2016. Id. On September 29, 2016, three individuals entered Ms. Rashid's residence in Amsterdam and grabbed the child from her maternal grandmother. Id. The kidnappers kicked and beat the grandmother, an aunt, and neighbors who tried to help the child. [DE 47, pg. 4]. The kidnappers also used a taser during the abduction. I.H. was taken to India, where Hemani and Hemani's mother were located. Id.

         Dutch authorities have arrested five people who they believe were involved in the abduction. Id. Two of those individuals advised Dutch authorities that Hemani orchestrated the abduction and held several meetings to discuss the plans for the crime. Id. Several of the arrested individuals also gave statements indicating that Defendant was heavily involved in the planning of the abduction, along with Hemani and several other individuals from multiple countries. Id. The abduction appeared to have been meticulously planned, including tracking the location of I.H.'s mother and other family members in advance of its commission. Id. Co-conspirators described Correa as the "organizer" of the abduction, and stated that Correa was responsible for the transportation of the child over the Dutch/German border. Id. Hemani reportedly paid those involved in the abduction €10, 000 in cash. Id.

         III. The December 13, 2017 Extradition Hearing

         At the December 13, 2017 extradition hearing, the Government was represented by AUSA Diana Acosta. Defendant was present and represented by Michael Spotts, Esq. At the request of the Government, the Court admitted Government's Exhibits A, B and C, which include the Declaration of Tom Heinemann, an Assistant Legal Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser for the Department of State, Washington D.C., together with the Diplomatic Note formally requesting the extradition of Defendant as supplemented by a Note with additional information and a copy of the applicable Treaty (Exhibit A), the March 31, 2017 Request for Extradition from the Netherlands (Exhibit B), and the April 26, 2017 Supplementary Letter from the Netherlands regarding its prior March 31, 2017 Request for Extradition with attached reports (Exhibit C) with regard to the Defendant Correa and to the crimes of which he is accused. The Defendant objected to the exhibits on the basis that the process on which the exhibits were based is unconstitutional and in violation of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, because Defendant was not granted due process as to the extradition process and because the exhibits contained multiple layers of hearsay. The Court overruled the objections and admitted all three exhibits.

         At the request of Defendant, the Court admitted Defendant's Exhibits 1 and 2. Exhibit 1 comprises the three exhibits attached to the Defendant's Notice of Filing Documents for Consideration in the Instant Extradition Proceeding [DE 48]. Exhibit 2 is an email detailing the complicated state of the passport application of the child at issue in the underlying criminal case. The Government objected to the admission of the exhibits on the grounds that they were contradictory evidence, but the Court overruled the objection and admitted the exhibits. The Court viewed the defense exhibits as more akin to explanatory evidence, and not contradictory evidence.

         Counsel for Correa argued that the evidence submitted by the Netherlands was insufficient to rise to the level of probable cause, and therefore the Court should not certify the extradition. He also argued that the extradition process is flawed, and deprives Defendant of several constitutional rights by violating the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Defendant also argued that two of the counts, co-perpetration of the removal of a minor from the custody of a person who exercises parental authority over him or her, in violation of Section 279 of the Dutch Criminal Code; and participation in a criminal organization, in violation of Section 140 of the same code, were not delineated by the extradition treaty, and therefore, if his extradition is certified, it should only be certified as to the charge of co-perpetration of unlawful imprisonment, in violation of Section 282 of the Dutch Criminal Code. Finally, Defendant asked that if the Court grants certification, it also grant a stay so that Defendant could decide whether to file a writ of habeas or to appeal.


         Extradition hearings are conducted pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 3184 - 3196. A foreign or international extradition proceeding is not a criminal case. Martin v. Warden, Atlanta, Pen., 993 F.2d 824, 829 (11th Cir. 1993); Kamrin v. United States, 725 F.2d 1225, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). "Foreign extraditions are sui generis in nature, neither civil nor criminal in nature and set forth their own law." In re Extradition of Mohammad Safdar Gohir, 2014 WL 2123402, at *6 (D. Nev. 2014); In re Extradition of Vargas, 978 F.Supp.2d 734, 744 (S.D. Texas 2013). The process of formal extradition is a diplomatic process, governed generally by the applicable extradition treaty and the federal extradition statute, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3181-3196. In re Extradition of Mohammad Sadfar Gohir, supra, at *6.

         Neither the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure nor the Federal Rules of Evidence apply to international extradition proceedings. Fed. R. Crim. P. 1(a)(5)(A); Fed.R.Evid. 1101(d)(3); Afanesjev v. Hurlburt, 418 F.3d 1159, 1164-65 (11th Cir. 2005), cert, denied, 546 U.S. 993 (2005); Melia v. United States, 667 F.2d 300, 302 (2d Cir. 1981); Bovio v. United States, 989 F.2d 255, 259 n.3 (7th Cir. 1993).

         "An extradition hearing is not a trial on the merits and does not require proof sufficient to satisfy the factfinder in a criminal trial." Cheng Na-Yuet v. Hueston, 734 F.Supp. 988, 995 (S.D. Fla. 1990). The purpose of an extradition proceeding is to decide the sufficiency of the charge under the treaty, not guilt or innocence. See Neely v. Henkel, 180 U.S. 109, 123 (1901); Afanasjev v. Hulburt, supra at 1165 n.11; Martin v. Warden, supra, 993 F.2d at 828.

         A certification of extradition may be and usually is based entirely on the authenticated documentary evidence and information provided by the requesting government. See, e.g., Castro Bobadilla v. Reno, 826 F.Supp. 1428, 1433-1434 (S.D. Fla. 1993) (documents and statements sufficient for extradition to Honduras), aff'd 28 F.3d 116 (11th Cir. 1994). "It is exceedingly rare for the Government to submit anything other than documents in support of an extradition request." In re Extradition of Nunez-Garrido, supra, 829 F.Supp.2d 1277, 1287 (S.D. Fla. 2011). According to the United States Supreme Court, "one of the principal objectives of the extradition statute is 'to obviate the necessity of confronting the accused with the witnesses against him' by enabling the requesting country to meet its burden of proof through documents subject only to requirements necessary to guarantee their authenticity." Id. (quoting Bingham v. Bradley, 241 U.S. 511, 517 (1916)). "Requiring the requesting country 'to send its citizens to another country to institute legal proceedings would defeat the whole object of the treaty.'" Id. (quoting Bingham, 241 U.S. at 517).

         Although an extraditee is permitted to present evidence tending to explain or clarify the proof ("explanatory evidence"), evidence which tends merely to contradict the requesting country's case ("contradictory evidence") is inadmissible. Cheng Na-Yuet, 734 F.Supp. at 995. "Because of the circumscribed nature of an extradition proceeding, the importance of international obligations and the inherent practical difficulties in international proceedings, a defendant's right to challenge evidence against him at an extradition hearing is limited." Nunez-Garrido, 829 F.Supp. at 1281. "Generally, evidence that explains away or completely obliterates probable cause is the only evidence admissible at an extradition hearing, whereas evidence that merely controverts the existence of probable cause, or raises a defense, is not admissible." Barapind v. Enomoto, 400 F.3d 744, 749 (9th Cir. 2005) (quoting Mainero v. Gregg, 164 F.3d 1199, 1207 n.7 (9th Cir. 1999)); see also Ordinola v. Hackman, 478 F.3d 588, 608-09 (4th Cir. 2007); Hoxha v. Levi, 465 F.3d 554, 561 (3d Cir. 2006). Courts have determined that affirmative defenses to the merits of the charge(s) are not to be considered at extradition hearings. See Charlton v. Kelly, 229 U.S. 447, 462 (1913); Collins v. Loisel, 259 U.S. 309, 316-17 (1922); Hooker v. Klein, 573 F.2d 1360, 1368 (9th Cir. 1978); DeSilva v. DiLeonardi, 125 F.3d 1110, 1112 (7th Cir. 1997). An extraditee is not permitted to introduce evidence that seeks to impeach the credibility of the demanding country's witnesses. Bovio v. United States, 989 F.2d 255, 259 (7th Cir. 1993).

         Extradition hearings are akin to a preliminary hearing. In re Extradition of Shaw, Case No. 14-CV-81475-WM, 2015 WL 3442022, at *4 (S.D. Fla. May 28, 2015); Afanasjev v. Hurlburt,418 F.3d 1159, 1164 (11th Cir. 2005). Accordingly, the magistrate judge "does not inquire into the guilt or innocence of the accused." Id. (quoting Kastnerova v. United States,365 F.3d 980, 987 (11th Cir. 2004)). Instead, the magistrate judge only looks to see if there is evidence sufficient to show probable cause. Id. See also In the Matter of the Extradition of ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.