Immortal 10 – Forcible Abduction

Author Harriet Frazier in her examination of slave escapes in Runaway Slaves and Those That Helped Them notes that bringing Dr. John Doy and his son, Charles, back to Missouri from Kansas Territory was forcible abduction to bring a defendant into another jurisdiction to be charged. In modern times, a person arrested in Kansas for a crime committed against Missouri residents would be brought before a Kansas court and extradited back to Missouri. Missourians and Kansans did not bother with exact adherence to the law when it came to the question of freedom for slaves.

In modern times, due to international narcotics trade and terrorism fears, the United States Supreme Court has legitimized forcible abduction from a foreign country back to the United States.  In  1990 a Mexican national is kidnapped in Mexico and taken back to the U.S. by a private citizen contracted by the DEA. He is tried and convicted of the torture and murder of a DEA agent.   In United States v. Alvarez-Michain, the Court states, “Our first inquiry must be whether the abduction of respondent from Mexico violated the extradition treaty between the  United  States  and  Mexico.  If we  conclude  that  the treaty does not prohibit respondent’s abduction, the rule in Ker applies,  and the  court need not inquire  as  to  how respondent came before it.” Justice Stevens dissented stating, “When  done without  consent of the foreign government, abducting a person from a foreign country is  a gross violation of international law and gross disrespect for a norm high in the opinion of mankind.”

 

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