Judicial District of New Haven


Habeas Corpus; Extradition; Whether, Under General Statutes §§ 54-158 and 54-161, a Person can be Extradited as a "Fugitive from Justice" When his Presence in Connecticut is not Voluntary but, Rather, is due to his Having Previously Been Involuntarily Extradited Here.  In 1996, the petitioner, while living in Texas, was extradited to Connecticut so that he could be prosecuted here for the commission of the crimes of robbery and failure to appear.  After being convicted and while serving the  probationary term of his sentence, the petitioner was arrested in New Haven at the request of authorities in Texas.  He refused to waive his right to challenge extradition on the ground that he was not a "fugitive from justice" under § 2 of Connecticut's version of the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA) (General Statutes § 54-158) and challenged the validity of the demand for his extradition in this habeas action.  According to the petitioner, he did not flee Texas as a fugitive from justice as that term is used in § 2 of our version of the UCEA but, rather, he was involuntarily extradited to Connecticut.  The habeas court dismissed the petition on the ground that the petitioner was a fugitive.  He then appealed to the Appellate Court.  That court reversed, concluding that our legislature had manifested an intention to change our common law regarding extradition in two ways.  The Appellate Court (88 Conn. App. 178) held that § 5 of our UCEA (§ 54-161) modified the common law term "fugitive from justice" to deem a prisoner to be a "nonfugitive" if he or she had been removed involuntarily by government compulsion from the state presently making demand and that this statute vested the governor with discretionary authority to extradite a nonfugitive rather than mandating extradition.  The Appellate Court thus concluded that the Texas extradition request was void because it sought the return of the petitioner as a fugitive rather than as a nonfugitive.  The commissioner now appeals to the Supreme Court, which will decide the following question: "Did the Appellate Court properly determine that the extradition warrant in the present case was void and that the extradition was governed by General Statutes § 54-161?"