OCTOBER TERM, 1991
certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit
No. 91-712. Argued April 1, 1992—Decided June 15, 1992
Respondent, a citizen and resident of Mexico, was forcibly kidnaped from his home and flown by private plane to Texas, where he was arrested for his participation in the kidnaping and murder of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent and the agent's pilot. After concluding that DEA agents were responsible for the abduction, the District Court dismissed the indictment on the ground that it violated the Extradition Treaty between the United States and Mexico (Extradition Treaty or Treaty), and ordered respondent's repatriation. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Based on one of its prior decisions, the court found that, since the United States had authorized the abduction and since the Mexican Government had protested the Treaty violation, jurisdiction was improper.
Held: The fact of respondent's forcible abduction does not prohibit his trial in a United States court for violations of this country's criminal laws. Pp. 659-670. (a) A defendant may not be prosecuted in violation of the terms of an extradition treaty. United States v. Rauscher, 119 U. S. 407. However, when a treaty has not been invoked, a court may properly exercise jurisdiction even though the defendant's presence is procured by means of a forcible abduction. Ker v. Illinois, 119 U. S. 436. Thus, if the Ex-tradition Treaty does not prohibit respondent's abduction, the rule of Ker applies and jurisdiction was proper. Pp. 659-662. (b) Neither the Treaty's language nor the history of negotiations and practice under it supports the proposition that it prohibits abductions outside of its terms. The Treaty says nothing about either country refraining from forcibly abducting people from the other's territory or the consequences if an abduction occurs. In addition, although the Mexican Government was made aware of the Ker doctrine as early as 1906, and language to curtail Ker was drafted as early as 1935, the Treaty's current version contains no such clause. Pp. 663-666. (c) General principles of international law provide no basis for interpreting the Treaty to include an implied term prohibiting international abductions. It would go beyond established precedent and practice to draw such an inference from the Treaty based on respondent's argument that abductions are so clearly prohibited in international law that there
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