Bones McCoy wrote:
I think there are a couple of points about the current extradition treaty, and process that give grounds for concern.
* The first is the assymetric requirement for evidence (US appears to require little more than an accusation and a judge's signature, while UK needs to be pretty much ready for trial).
* Next following from this is that the UK accused in USA may have to spend years "on remand" (Not sure whether the term applies in the USA - held without bail in advance of trial) while the authorities prepare the evidence (That wasn't required at extradition).
I've said before that I don't really know the ins and outs of the extradition treaty and it wouldn't surprise me if it was unfair to the UK. However, there seems to be a bit of misunderstanding, at least in regards to Tappin.
Tappin allegedly committed the crimes he's charged with in 2006. He was indicted in 2007 by a grand jury
. Not all extraditions are going to require a grand jury because not all states use them, and the UK doesn't use them any more. But he's been charged by more than a judge's signature.
The evidence has been prepared in advance. The time leading up to the trial is not for the authorities to gather and prepare evidence. That is supposed to happen before someone is indicted. The period after indictment and before the trial is for both the prosecution and the defence to prepare for trial and to file motions. There is a right to a speedy, public, jury trial in the US (Bill of Rights). Technically, the prosecution is ready (barring pre-trial motions, which is actually a process which usually helps the defendant, not vice versa):http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/U ... Cases.aspx
Criminal cases include a limited amount of pretrial discovery proceedings similar to those in civil cases, with substantial restrictions to protect the identity of government informants and to prevent intimidation of witnesses. The attorneys also may file motions, which are requests for rulings by the court before the trial. For example, defense attorneys often file a motion to suppress evidence, which asks the court to exclude from the trial evidence that the defendant believes was obtained by the government in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights.
Everyone is entitled to a bail hearing.
Not everyone is granted bail. Tappin has a history of trade with Iran and may still have contacts willing to protect him. It's not surprising that he was denied bail, and hopefully would have been denied it here if facing similar charges in the UK. People aren't bailed without charge in the US because the US can't hold people for long without charging them (which makes things like Gitmo all the more horrifying because it is specifically trying to circumvent these legal protections).
From what I understand, the biggest thing people complain about is the requirement of the US to have British requests meet "probable cause" requirements. Technically, the US requests would have already met these because this would have been a requirement for an arrest warrant, let alone indictment. It's not even that big of a hurdle, but a reasonable belief that someone has committed a crime.
Here's the grand jury indictment
against Tappin, and here's the original complaint