NEW MEXICO, EX REL . MANUEL ORTIZ v. TIMOTHY REED
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW MEXICO
Decided June 8, 1998
viction of armed robbery and theft of drugs, was paroled from the Ohio correctional system in 1992. In the following year Ohio prison officials told respondent they planned to revoke his parole status. Before the scheduled date of his meeting with his parole officer, respondent fled from Ohio to New Mexico.
Ohio sought extradition and the Governor of New Mexico issued a warrant directing the extradition of respondent. He was arrested in October 1994, and later that year sought a writ of habeas corpus from the New Mexico State District Court. He claimed he was not a "fugitive" for purposes of extradition because he fled under duress, believing that Ohio authorities intended to revoke his parole without due process and to cause him physical harm if he were returned to an Ohio prison. In January 1995, the New Mexico trial court ruled in favor of respondent and directed his release from custody. The State appealed this order, and in September 1997 the Supreme Court of New Mexico affirmed the grant of habeas corpus. 124 N. M. 129, 947 P. 2d 86 (1997). The State has petitioned for certiorari from that decision.
Article IV of the United States Constitution provides that:
The Extradition Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3182 provides the procedures by which this constitutional command is carried out.
In Michigan v. Doran , 439 U.S. 282 (1978), we said:
The Supreme Court of New Mexico agreed that the first three requirements had been met, but decided that respondent was not a "fugitive" from justice; in the words of the Supreme Court of New Mexico, he was a "refugee from injustice." 124 N. M, at 146, 947 P. 2d, at 103. That court held that respondent fled Ohio because of fear that his parole would be revoked without due process, and that he would be thereafter returned to prison where he faced the threat of bodily injury. This "duress" negated his status as a fugitive under Article IV.
These are serious charges, unrebutted by any evidence at the hearing in the state trial court. It may be noted, however, that the State of Ohio was not a party at that hearing, and the State of New Mexico which was defending the Governor's action is at a considerable disadvantage in producing testimony, even in affidavit form, of occurrences in the State of Ohio. Very likely Ohio was aware of our statement in Sweeney v. Woodall , 344 U.S. 86, 89 -90 (1952), that the "scheme of interstate rendition, as set forth in both the Constitution and the statutes which Congress has enacted to implement the Constitution, . . . do[es] not contemplate an appearance by [the demanding state] in respondent's asylum to defend against the claimed abuses of its prison system."
We accept, of course, the determination of the Supreme Court of New Mexico that respondent's testimony was credible, but this is simply not the kind of issue that may be tried in the asylum State. In case after case we have held that claims relating to what actually happened in the demanding State, the law of the demanding State, and what may be expected to happen in the demanding State when the fugitive returns, are issues that must be tried in the courts of that State, and not in those of the asylum State. Drew v. Thaw , 235 U.S. 432 (1914); Sweeney v. Woodall , 344 U.S. 86 (1952); Michigan v. Doran , supra , Pacileo v. Walker , 449 U.S. 86 (1980). As we said in Pacileo:
There are practical reasons as well as legal reasons which support this result. In a brief filed by 40 States as amici curiae , we are advised that in 1997, for example, Ohio made 218 extradition requests from its sister States, and returned 209 prisoners to other States. California in that same year had a total of 685 demands and returns, New York 490, Texas 700, and Pennsylvania 543. *
The burden on a demanding State of producing witnesses and records in the asylum State to counter allegations such as those of respondent's in this case would be substantial, indeed.
The Supreme Court of New Mexico also held that the New Mexico Constitution's provision guaranteeing the right "of seeking and obtaining safety" prevailed over the State's duty under Article IV of the United States Constitution. But as long ago as Kentucky v. Dennison , 24 How. 66 (1861), we held that the duty imposed by the Extradition Clause on the asylum State was mandatory. In Puerto Rico v. Branstad , 483 U.S. 219, 227 (1987), we reaffirmed "the conclusion that the commands of the Extradition Clause are mandatory, and afford no discretion to the executive officers or the courts of the asylum State." And in California v. Superior Court of Cal., San Bernardino Cty., 482 U.S. 400, 405 -406 (1987), we said:
It is so ordered.
[ Footnote * ] The motion of National Association of Extradition Officials for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae is granted.