U.S. Does Not Make Ultimate Appeal on Portuguese Court's Denial of Extradition Request for George Wright

On February 29, 2012,  a senior judge of the Portuguese Constitutional Court said that the case concerning the U.S. government's extradition request for George Wright is over since the U.S. government did not make its final appeal to the Constitutional Court.

As a result, Portugal will not  extradite fugitive George Wright to the United States for crimes he committed there four decades ago.

In September 2012, Portuguese police captured the 68-year-old Wright, ending his more than 40 years on the lam after he escaped from a New Jersey prison.

In November 2012, a Lisbon court denied  a U.S. request to send Wright back to serve the rest of his 15- to 30-year sentence for the 1962 killing of a gas station attendant during a robbery in New Jersey because the statute of limitations had expired.

Portugal's Supreme Court twice rejected U.S. appeals of that decision.

The case illustrates the difficulty of not being able to make an extradition case for so long after the fugitivity has occurred.  The case also illustrates the utility for fugitives to become citizens of the requested state.  Wright's 1991 marriage to a Porutuguese woman enabled him to become a Portuguese citizen.  Citizenship is often a pyschological if not a legal advantage to a person contesting extradition.

 

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