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Hearsay Evidence Allowed at Extradition Hearings

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By FindLaw Staff on March 29, 2010 1:25 PM

Harshbarger v. Regan, No. 09-2243, involved a district court's denial of defendant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus in Canada's extradition proceedings for the death of her husband in the Canadian wilderness. 

As stated in the decision: "Evidence that might be excluded at a trial, including hearsay evidence, is generally admissible at extradition hearings.  This is so because 'the role of the magistrate judge in an extradition proceeding is...to determine whether there is competent evidence to justify holding the accused to await trial, and not to determine whether the evidence is sufficient to justify a conviction."

Thus, the court rejected defendant's argument that hearsay evidence was insufficient to support extradition as the federal statute that governs extradition proceedings explicitly allows for the use of hearsay at an extradition hearing, as well as numerous federal cases. 

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