Sunday, June 8, 2014

United States v. Alvarez-Machain case brief summary

United States v. Alvarez-Machain case brief summary (1992; US)

Facts: Machain is a citizen and resident of Mexico. He was indicted by US DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) for participating in the kidnap and murder of a DEA agent, by prolonging the victim's life so others could torture him further (allegedly). Machain was forcibly kidnapped from Mexico and brought to Texas for trial. Respondent moved to dismiss the indictment, claiming that his abductionconstituted outrageous gov't conduct, and that the district court lacked jurisdiction to try him b/c he was abducted in violation of the extradition treatybtwn US and Mexico.   District court dismissed, and ordered that he be repatriated to Mexico, and court of appeals affirmed both. Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Issue: Whether there is jurisdiction for a Mexican national, abducted to the US,when US and Mexico had an extradition treaty.

Answer:  Yes.

Holding: Dismissal reversed.

Reasoning:  First court looks at the Extradition treaty to decide whether the abduction violates it.  Treaty says nothing about US and Mexico's obligations to refrain from abducting people, or the consequences if this happens.Treaty only says that neither party is bound to delivery upon the other its own nationals. At each country's discretion.

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