Extradition Lawyers Association

Hilton (12 June 2014)

Alexander Hilton v. John Kerry, Eric Holder and John Gibbons, No. 13–2444, 754 F.3d79 (1st Cir.)

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the trial court’s denial of a request by an American citizen to block extradition to Scotland, noting there was no concern about the fairness of the Scottish judicial system. As previously reported, Scotland sought the extradition of Alexander Hilton, an American student studying abroad there in 2011, who allegedly attempted to kill a fellow student by spiking his drink. The trial court denied Hilton’s petition for writ of habeas corpus, in part, on the ground that the rule of non-inquiry prevented the court from considering the fairness of Scotland’s judicial system. The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed. The appellate court held that the rule of non-inquiry precluded defendant’s claim that extradition would violate his Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury because he could be convicted in Scotland by a majority of a fifteen person jury. The court noted that, where Scotland had requested extradition, there was no concern about extradition offending a “sense of decency.”