Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2, of the United States Constitution defines extradition in the following way: "A person charged in any State with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime."
The extradition process can be used to return those convicted of a crime, those charged with a crime, persons who escape from the Department of Corrections, and parole and probation violators.
In Virginia, the provisions governing extradition procedures are set forth in Sections 19.2-84 through 19.2-118 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended.
When Virginia is the demanding state, all extradition requests are reviewed by the Extradition Specialist in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to ensure that they are complete and comply with the requirements of the asylum state. Once all the documents are complete, it is the Governor who formally requests the extradition. Finally, if the extradition is granted, the Governor requests one or more law enforcement officers, designated by the local Commonwealth's Attorney, to retrieve the fugitive.
When Virginia is the asylum state, the extradition request is received by the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth from the demanding state. The extradition request is then forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General where it is reviewed for legal sufficiency. Once the Governor's Office is satisfied that the demanding state has met the necessary requirements for extradition, a Governor's Warrant is issued.
Obtaining Governor's Warrants
Requests for Governor’s Warrants are received and processed on behalf of the Governor by the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Information necessary to obtain a Governor’s Warrant is established in law and there is essentially no discretion or ability to grant waivers from requirements.
The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth is committed to working with Commonwealth’s Attorneys, their staffs and all other law enforcement officials to prevent any fugitive from escaping justice in Virginia. For this reason, the accompanying application forms and checklists for each type of Governor’s Warrant are provided to enable this office to have the necessary information for a Governor’s Warrant to be issued. Officials are not required to submit requests for a Governor’s Warrant on these forms, but doing so is highly recommended as a way to simplify the process and eliminate delay.
Time is of the essence in obtaining a Governor’s Warrant. A fugitive warrant/complaint pending serving a Governor’s Warrant will restrain a fugitive for 30 days, with a possible extension of up to 60 days. Typically, it takes 21 days from the time of submitting a request containing all necessary information to the time a Governor’s Warrant is served on the fugitive.
Should there be any questions regarding issuance of a Governor’s Warrant,
please contact Patricia B. Tucker, Director of Extradition and Clemency at