Before Amanda Knox could be arrested and extradited, she would get her day in court – only this time, in the United States.
The extradition process would kick off only if Italy makes a formal request to the U.S. State Department. State would then route the request to the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs (OIA) for consideration.
Justice Department attorneys would evaluate the petition for legal sufficiency before deciding whether to seek an extradition certificate. If they did, Knox’s extradition would be heard before a federal judge.
But such a review is limited in scope, said Mary Fan, a University of Washington Law School professor who specializes in international and domestic criminal law. While Knox’s attorneys likely would argue against the validity of her conviction and the process, such a hearing largely is dictated by whether paperwork and treaty standards have been met.
“It’s not a retrial of the case, and it’s not a retrial of another country’s justice system,” Fan said.
Italy is among at least 109 nations that hold extradition treaties with the United States. Due to “reciprocity” concerns, Fan said, federal officials might be in a tough spot not to carry out such an extradition, if it ever got to that point.
“Someday, the U.S. might seek extradition of someone convicted of a serious crime, such as murder, from Italy,” she said. “So, it’s reciprocity that’s the major consideration. Not just in this case, but in future cases. That’s something that the State Department has to consider.”