Provisions of Chapter 51 - Fugitives from Justice

Chapter 51 explains the rules that apply to a fugitive from justice while awaiting extradition as contained in Title 1 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. If you were being held in Texas while awaiting extradition to another state or if you are being held in another state while awaiting extradition to Texas, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

An attorney can help you understand the time limits imposed by the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act under Art. 51.13 in Texas. Also find out how the interstate agreement on detainers under Art. 51.14 (often called the Texas ”Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act”) might impact your case.

Don Flanary represents clients being extradited to or from Bexar County, TX, and the surrounding counties in the greater San Antonio area. Call (210) 738-8383 today for a free consultation.

Uniform Criminal Extradition Act under Art. 51.13 in Texas 

Under Art. 51.01. DELIVERED UP, a person in any other State of the United States charged with treason or any felony who shall flee from justice and be found in the State of Texas, shall on demand of the executive authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State of Texas which has jurisdiction over the crime.

Under Art. 51.02. TO AID IN ARREST, all peace officers of the State shall give aid in the arrest and detention of a fugitive from any other State that he may be held subject to a requisition by the Governor of the State from which he fled.

Under Art. 51.03. MAGISTRATE'S WARRANT, when a complaint is made to a magistrate that any person within his jurisdiction is a fugitive from justice from another State, he shall issue a warrant of arrest directing a peace officer to apprehend and bring the accused before him.

Under Art. 51.04. COMPLAINT, the complaint shall be sufficient if it recites:

  1. The name of the person accused;
  2. The State from which he has fled;
  3. The offense committed by the accused;
  4. That he has fled to Texas from the State where the offense was committed; and
  5. That the act alleged to have been committed by the accused is a violation of the penal law of the State from which he fled.

Under Art. 51.05. BAIL OR COMMITMENT, when the accused is brought before the magistrate, he shall hear proof, and if satisfied that the accused is charged in another State with the offense named in the complaint, he shall require of him bail with sufficient security, in such amount as the magistrate deems reasonable, to appear before such magistrate at a specified time. In default of such bail, he may commit the defendant to jail to await a requisition from the Governor of the State from which he fled. A properly certified transcript of an indictment against the accused is sufficient to show that he is charged with the crime alleged. One arrested under the provisions of this title shall not be committed or held to bail for a longer time than ninety days.

Under Art. 51.06. NOTICE OF ARREST, the magistrate who held or committed such fugitive shall immediately notify the Secretary of State and the district or county attorney of his county of such fact and the date thereof, stating the name of such fugitive, the State from which he fled, and the crime with which he is charged; and such officers so notified shall in turn notify the Governor of the proper State.

Under Art. 51.07. DISCHARGE, a fugitive not arrested under a warrant from the Governor of Texas before the expiration of ninety days from the day of his commitment or the date of the bail shall be discharged.

Under Art. 51.08. SECOND ARREST, a person who has once been arrested under the provisions of this title and discharged under the provisions of the preceding Article or by habeas corpus shall not be again arrested upon a charge of the same offense, except by a warrant from the Governor of Texas.

Under Art. 51.09. GOVERNOR MAY DEMAND FUGITIVE, when the Governor deems it proper to demand a person who has committed an offense in Texas and has fled to another State, he may commission any suitable person to take such requisition. The accused, if brought back to the State of Texas, shall be delivered up to the sheriff of the county in which it is alleged he has committed the offense.

Under Art. 51.10. PAY OF AGENT; TRAVELING EXPENSES, the officer or person so commissioned shall receive as compensation the actual and necessary traveling expenses upon requisition of the Governor to be allowed by such Governor and to be paid out of the State Treasury upon a certificate of the Governor reciting the services rendered and the allowance therefor. The The commissioners court of the county where an offense is committed may in its discretion, on the request of the sheriff and the recommendation of the district attorney, pay the actual and necessary traveling expenses of the officer or person so commissioned out of any fund or funds not otherwise pledged.

Under Art. 51.11. REWARD, the Governor of Texas may offer a reward for the apprehension of one accused of a felony in Texas who is evading arrest, by causing such offer to be published in such manner as he deems most likely to effect the arrest. The reward shall be paid out of the Texas State Treasury to the person who becomes entitled to it upon a certificate of the Governor of Texas reciting the facts which entitle such person to receive it.

Under Art. 51.12. SHERIFF TO REPORT, each sheriff upon the close of any regular term of the district or criminal district court in his county, or within thirty days thereafter, shall make out and mail to the Director of the Department of Public Safety a certified list of all persons, who, after indictment for a felony, have fled from said county. Such lists shall contain the full name of each such fugitive, the offense with which he is charged, and a description giving his age, height, weight, color and occupation, the complexion of the skin and the color of eyes and hair, and any peculiarity in person, speech, manner or gait that may serve to identify such person so far as the sheriff may be able to give them. The Director of the Department of Public Safety shall prescribe and forward to all sheriffs the necessary blanks upon which are to be made the lists herein required.

Under Sec. 3 of Article 51.13, Texas law provides for strict requirements for the form of the demand. For instance, no demand for the extradition of a person charged with crime in another State shall be recognized by the Governor of Texas unless in writing, alleging, except in cases arising under Section 6, that the accused was present in the demanding State at the time of the commission of the alleged crime, and that thereafter he fled from the State, and accompanied by a copy of an indictment found or by information supported by affidavit in the State having jurisdiction of the crime, or by a copy of an affidavit before a magistrate there, together with a copy of any warrant which issued thereupon; or by a copy of a judgment of conviction or of a sentence imposed in execution thereof, together with a statement by the Executive Authority of the demanding State that the person claimed has escaped from confinement or has broken the terms of his bail, probation or parole.

The indictment, information, or affidavit made before the magistrate must substantially charge the person demanded with having committed a crime under the law of that State; and the copy of indictment, information, affidavit, judgment of conviction or sentence must be authenticated by the Executive Authority making the demand; provided, however, that all such copies of the aforesaid instruments shall be in duplicate, one complete set of such instruments to be delivered to the defendant or to his attorney.

Under Sec. 4., the Governor of Texas may investigate the case. When a demand shall be made upon the Governor of Texas by the Executive Authority of another State for the surrender of a person so charged with crime, the Governor of Texas may call upon the Secretary of State, Attorney General or any prosecuting officer in Texas to investigate or assist in investigating the demand, and to report to him the situation and circumstances of the person so demanded, and whether he ought to be surrendered.

Sec. 5. explains the rules for extradition of persons imprisoned or awaiting trial in another state who have left the demanding state under compulsion. When it is desired to have returned to Texas a person charged in Texas with a crime, and such person is imprisoned or is held under criminal proceedings then pending against him in another State, the Governor of Texas may agree with the Executive Authority of such other State for the extradition of such person before the conclusion of such proceedings or his term of sentence in such other State, upon condition that such person be returned to such other State at the expense of Texas as soon as the prosecution in this State is terminated.

The Governor of Texas may also surrender on demand of the Executive Authority of any other State any person in Texas who is charged in the manner provided in Section 23 of the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act with having violated the laws of the Texas whose Executive Authority is making the demand, even though such person left the demanding State involuntarily.

Under Sec. 6. EXTRADITION OF PERSONS NOT PRESENT IN DEMANDING STATE AT TIME OF COMMISSION OF CRIME, the Governor of Texas may also surrender, on demand of the Executive Authority of any other State, any person in Texas charged in such other State in the manner provided in Section 3 with committing an act in Texas, or in a third State, intentionally resulting in a crime in the State whose Executive Authority is making the demand, and the provisions of this Article not otherwise inconsistent, shall apply to such cases, even though the accused was not in that State at the time of the commission of the crime, and has not fled therefrom.

Under Sec. 7. ISSUE OF GOVERNOR'S WARRANT OF ARREST; ITS RECITALS, if the Governor decides that the demand should be complied with, he shall sign a warrant of arrest, which shall be sealed with the state seal and be directed to any peace officer or other person whom he may think fit to entrust with the execution thereof. The warrant must substantially recite the facts necessary to the validity of its issuance.

Under Sec. 8. MANNER AND PLACE OF EXECUTION, such warrant shall authorize the peace officer or other person to whom directed to arrest the accused at any time and any place where he may be found within the State and to command the aid of all peace officers and other persons in the execution of the warrant, and to deliver the accused, subject to the provisions of this Article to the duly authorized agent of the demanding State.

Under Sec. 9. AUTHORITY OF ARRESTING OFFICER, every such peace officer or other person empowered to make the arrest, shall have the same authority, in arresting the accused, to command assistance therein, as peace officers have by law in the execution of any criminal process directed to them, with like penalties against those who refuse their assistance.

Under Sec. 10(a) of the section for the RIGHTS OF ACCUSED PERSON; APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, no person arrested upon such warrant shall be delivered over to the agent whom the Executive Authority demanding him shall have appointed to receive him unless he shall first be taken forthwith before a judge of a court of record in Texas, or before a justice of the peace serving a precinct that is located in a county bordering another state, who shall inform him of the demand made for his surrender and of the crime with which he is charged, and that he has the right to demand and procure legal counsel; and if the prisoner or his counsel shall state that he or they desire to test the legality of his arrest, the judge of the court of record shall fix a reasonable time to be allowed the prisoner in which to apply for a writ of habeas corpus, or the justice of the peace shall direct the prisoner to a court of record for purposes of obtaining such a writ.

When the writ is applied for, notice thereof, and of the time and place of hearing thereon, shall be given to the prosecuting officer of the county in which the arrest is made and in which the accused is in custody, and to the said agent of the demanding State.

This article was last updated on Friday, January 13, 2017.

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