AP Photo/Ginnette Riquelme
When we hear the word “extradition,” it applies to someone breaking a law in one place, then going to another jurisdiction in hopes of avoiding prosecution.
It doesn’t really apply for a law broken in one country when the suspect was arrested right there.
However, it seems that Mexico wants the El Paso shooter extradited to their country.
Mexico’s president wants [the alleged El Paso shooter] — accused of slaughtering 22 people at an El Paso Walmart — extradited and tried there as well as in the US, he announced this week.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made the call during a Wednesday speech in the southern state of Oaxaca.
In the past, Mexico and the US have had an arrangement in which a suspect convicted in one country can immediately be extradited for trial in the other, and then serve a sentence in either nation. El Paso is a predominantly Latino city that borders Mexico.
Except, that’s not what happened.
The alleged gunman in El Paso didn’t break any laws in Mexico. We don’t know that he’s even been to Mexico.
What Obrador is doing is demanding that someone who broke American laws on American soil be sent to Mexico simply because he allegedly targeted Mexicans. If we’re going to play that game, then perhaps all the Americans who have been targeted for various crimes in Mexico simply because they were American should be tried in the United States? There are reasons why the U.S. might prefer this. After all, the criminal justice system south of the border isn’t known for its integrity. How many criminals have gotten off due to the right bit of cash crossing the right palm?
Obrador needs to understand that this isn’t how it works. You don’t get an American citizen charged with a crime on American soil just because he targetted citizens of your nation. Especially when he knows there’s sufficient outrage in this country to ensure he gets a fair trial.
Then again, I think he does. I think he knows he won’t get this guy, but he also thinks the people of Mexico will respond to his demands. He figures it will buy him some domestic goodwill.
I get that Mexicans are outraged. Their people were reportedly targeted by a deranged gunman simply because they were Mexicans. I’d be outraged as hell, too.
But the rule of law is still a thing, and Obrador would, at best, have to wait his turn. After all, while El Paso claimed eight Mexican lives, it also claimed 13 Americans and a German…and again, all on American soil.
He’ll be tried unless he pleads out. If he does stand trial, don’t be surprised if he gets the death penalty. Texas is famous for its executions, after all. So, he’ll be tried, likely convicted, possibly executed, and then, maybe just because, we can send his corpse to Mexico so they can try him again.
Obrador might have a point if there was a chance the suspect wouldn’t get a vigorous prosecution here in the United States, but that’s not likely to be an issue. The only issue is Mexico trying to flex on this when there’s literally nothing they can do to the United States that wouldn’t ultimately end up working out better for us anyway.