421 F.3d 1009 (9th Cir. 2005), 03-57253, Prasoprat v. Benov

Docket Nº03-57253.
Citation421 F.3d 1009
Party NameSuwit PRASOPRAT, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Michael BENOV, Warden, Respondent-Appellee.
Case DateAugust 31, 2005
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 1009

421 F.3d 1009 (9th Cir. 2005)

Suwit PRASOPRAT, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

Michael BENOV, Warden, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 03-57253.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Aug. 31, 2005

Argued and Submitted Oct. 6, 2004.

Submission Vacated Nov. 8, 2004.

Resubmitted Aug. 15, 2005.

Page 1010

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1011

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California; Harry L. Hupp, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV 02-08751 HLH.

Barry O. Bernstein, Burbank, CA, for the petitioner-appellant.

Daniel Scott Goodman, Assistant United States Attorney, Los Angeles, CA, for the respondent-appellee.

Before: PREGERSON, TASHIMA, and PAEZ, Circuit Judges.

TASHIMA, Circuit Judge:

Suwit Prasoprat, a United States citizen fighting extradition to Thailand, appeals an order of the district court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Prasoprat contends that his due process rights were violated when the extradition court denied his motion seeking discovery of information related to the use of the death penalty

Page 1012

in Thailand for drug offenses. He also contends that the extradition court should have denied his extradition on humanitarian grounds. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1291 and 2253. We affirm the district court.

Extradition from the United States is a diplomatic process that is initiated by a request from the nation seeking extradition directly to the Department of State. Blaxland v. Commonwealth Dir. of Pub. Prosecutions, 323 F.3d 1198, 1207 (9th Cir.2003). "After the request has been evaluated by the State Department to determine whether it is within the scope of the relevant extradition treaty, a United States Attorney ... files a complaint in federal district court seeking an arrest warrant for the person sought to be extradited." Id.

If, after a hearing regarding the evidence of criminality against a person sought to be extradited, a judge or magistrate judge

deems the evidence sufficient to sustain the charge under the provisions of the proper treaty or convention ..., he shall certify the same, together with a copy of all the testimony taken before him, to the Secretary of State, that a warrant may issue upon the requisition of the proper authorities of such foreign government, for the surrender of such person....

18 U.S.C. § 3184. Thus, a magistrate or judge first holds a hearing to determine "whether (1) the crime is extraditable; and (2) there is probable cause to sustain the charge." Cornejo-Barreto v. Seifert, 218 F.3d 1004, 1009 (9th Cir.2000) (footnote omitted) (" Cornejo-Barreto I "). 1 The magistrate judge "has no discretionary decision to make." Lopez-Smith v. Hood, 121 F.3d 1322, 1326 (9th Cir.1997). Rather, "[i]f the evidence is sufficient to sustain the charge, the inquiring magistrate judge is required to certify the individual as extraditable to the Secretary of State and to issue a warrant." Blaxland, 323 F.3d at 1208. The Secretary of State then determines in her discretion whether the individual will be surrendered. Id. (citing United States v. Lui Kin-Hong, 110 F.3d 103, 110 (1st Cir.1997); 18 U.S.C. § 3186).

BACKGROUND

In 1998, a confidential informant reported to an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") that Prasoprat was involved in heroin trafficking between Bangkok, Thailand, and Los Angeles. 2 The DEA monitored Prasoprat for several years and, in 2001, the United States filed a complaint in the United States District Court on behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand, seeking Prasoprat's extradition to Thailand pursuant to the extradition treaty between the United States and Thailand. The complaint alleged that Prasoprat and another individual were wanted in Thailand for drug offenses that are covered by the extradition treaty. Prasoprat was ordered detained by a magistrate judge.

Prasoprat filed a motion for discovery, seeking information allegedly in the government's "exclusive possession" that related to the use of the death penalty in

Page 1013

Thailand as punishment for drug offenses. Prasoprat argued that the extradition request violated the extradition treaty because the offense for which extradition was sought was punishable by death in Thailand but not in the United States. 3 He therefore sought an order "for the government to disclose any information that the death penalty is the punishment for drug convictions in Thailand."

The magistrate judge denied Prasoprat's discovery motion. He reasoned that the extradition treaty explicitly placed the authority to examine the issue of the death penalty in determining extradition within the executive branch, not the judicial branch. The court thus ruled that discovery regarding the availability of the death penalty was not appropriate.

Following an extradition hearing, the magistrate judge determined that the government had established probable cause to sustain the narcotics charges. The court therefore entered an extradition certification, ordering that Prasoprat was extraditable and certifying the matter to the United States Secretary of State to issue a warrant to extradite Prasoprat.

Prasoprat then filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The magistrate judge submitted a report and recommendation to the district court, recommending that the petition be denied. The district court adopted the report and denied Prasoprat's petition. See Prasoprat v. Benov, 294 F.Supp.2d 1165 (C.D.Cal.2003). Prasoprat filed a timely notice of appeal. The district court issued a certificate of appealability on two grounds: (1) the extradition court's denial of Prasoprat's discovery request for information regarding the death penalty in Thailand for drug possession; and (2) the extradition court's refusal to deny extradition on humanitarian grounds.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The decision to certify a person as extraditable is not subject to direct appeal but may be challenged collaterally through habeas corpus review. Barapind v. Enomoto, 400 F.3d 744, 748 n. 5 (9th Cir.2005) (en banc) (per curiam); Cornejo-Barreto I, 218 F.3d at 1009. The district court's habeas review of an extradition order is limited to: (1) whether the extradition court had jurisdiction to conduct the proceeding and jurisdiction over the individual sought; (2) whether the extradition treaty was in force and the crime fell within the treaty's terms; (3) whether there was probable cause that the individual committed the crime; and (4) whether the crime fell within the political offense exception. Id. at 1009-10; Mainero v. Gregg, 164 F.3d 1199, 1205 (9th Cir.1999); see also Fernandez v. Phillips, 268 U.S. 311, 312, 45 S.Ct. 541, 69 L.Ed. 970 (1925) (stating that "habeas corpus is available only to inquire whether the magistrate had jurisdiction, whether the offense charged is within the treaty and ... whether there was any evidence warranting the finding that there was reasonable ground to believe the accused guilty").

We review de novo the district court's denial of a habeas petition in extradition proceedings. Cornejo-Barreto I, 218 F.3d at 1009; see also Barapind, 400 F.3d at 748 (reviewing de novo the district court's decision on questions of law and

Page 1014

mixed questions of law and fact). The district court's denial of a discovery request in an extradition case is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Emami v. United States Dist. Court, 834 F.2d 1444, 1452 (9th Cir.1987).

DISCUSSION

On appeal, Prasoprat raises two issues. First, he contends that the extradition court abused its discretion in denying his motion for discovery regarding the use of the death penalty in Thailand for drug offenses. Second, he argues that the extradition court should have denied extradition on humanitarian grounds.

I. Discovery Motion

"An extradition proceeding is not a trial[.]" Emami, 834 F.2d at 1452. Thus, "discovery in an international extradition hearing is limited and lies within the discretion of the magistrate." United States v. Kraiselburd (In re Extradition of Kraiselburd), 786 F.2d 1395, 1399 (9th Cir.1986); see also, e.g., Koskotas v. Roche, 931 F.2d 169, 175 (1st Cir.1991) (stating that, "in an extradition proceeding, discovery is not only discretionary with the court, it is narrow in scope"); cf. Oen Yin-Choy v. Robinson, 858 F.2d 1400, 1407 (9th Cir.1988) ("Although there is no explicit statutory basis for ordering discovery in extradition proceedings, the extradition court has the inherent power to order such discovery procedures as law and justice require.").

The issue regarding which Prasoprat sought discovery--the use of the death penalty in Thailand--was outside the purview of the magistrate judge. Article 6 of the extradition treaty between the United States and Thailand deals with capital punishment and states:

When the offense for which extradition is sought is punishable by death under the laws of the Requesting State and is not punishable by death under the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
62 practice notes
  • 622 F.Supp.2d 980 (C.D.Cal. 2009), CV 06-2599-PA(RC), Prasoprat v. Benov
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • May 25, 2009
    ...and certifying the matter to the United States Secretary of State to issue a warrant to extradite [petitioner]. Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009, 1012-13 (9th Cir.2005) (footnote omitted), cert. denied, 546 U.S. 1171, 126 S.Ct. 1335, 164 L.Ed.2d 51 The district court then stayed petitioner......
  • 473 F.Supp.2d 1030 (C.D.Cal. 2006), CV 06-5092, In re Extradition of Santos
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • December 21, 2006
    ...to believe that person named in the extradition request committed the charged offenses. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3184, 3190; Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009, 1013 (9th Cir.2005), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 126 S.Ct. 1335, 164 L.Ed.2d 51 (2006); Quinn v. Robinson, 783 F.2d 776, 782-783 (9th Cir.......
  • The constitutionality of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
    • United States
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Vol. 98 Nbr. 3, March 2008
    • March 22, 2008
    ...229 U.S. 447 (1913); Wright v. Henkel, 190 U.S. 40 (1903); In re Chan Seong-I, 346 F. Supp. 2d 1149 (D.N.M. 2004); Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009 (9th Cir. 2004); In re Munguia, 294 F. Supp. 2d 893 (S.D. Tex. 2003); In re Sacirbegovic, 280 F. Supp. 2d 81 (S.D.N.Y. 2003); DeSilva v. DiLeo......
  • In re Extradition of Sarellano, 101515 OKWDC, M-15-75-CG
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 10th Circuit Western District of Oklahoma
    • October 15, 2015
    ...for that person’s arrest pending an extradition hearing before an authorized judicial officer. 18 U.S.C. § 3184; see Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009, 1012 (9th Cir. 2005). The federal statutes establish a two-step procedure that divides responsibility for extradition between an authorized......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
61 cases
  • 622 F.Supp.2d 980 (C.D.Cal. 2009), CV 06-2599-PA(RC), Prasoprat v. Benov
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • May 25, 2009
    ...and certifying the matter to the United States Secretary of State to issue a warrant to extradite [petitioner]. Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009, 1012-13 (9th Cir.2005) (footnote omitted), cert. denied, 546 U.S. 1171, 126 S.Ct. 1335, 164 L.Ed.2d 51 The district court then stayed petitioner......
  • 473 F.Supp.2d 1030 (C.D.Cal. 2006), CV 06-5092, In re Extradition of Santos
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 9th Circuit United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • December 21, 2006
    ...to believe that person named in the extradition request committed the charged offenses. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3184, 3190; Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009, 1013 (9th Cir.2005), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 126 S.Ct. 1335, 164 L.Ed.2d 51 (2006); Quinn v. Robinson, 783 F.2d 776, 782-783 (9th Cir.......
  • In re Extradition of Sarellano, 101515 OKWDC, M-15-75-CG
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 10th Circuit Western District of Oklahoma
    • October 15, 2015
    ...for that person’s arrest pending an extradition hearing before an authorized judicial officer. 18 U.S.C. § 3184; see Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009, 1012 (9th Cir. 2005). The federal statutes establish a two-step procedure that divides responsibility for extradition between an authorized......
  • In re Extradition of Burgos Noeller, 022318 ILNDC, 17 CR 664
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • February 23, 2018
    ...state's justice system is unfair, or that extradition should be denied on humanitarian grounds. Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009, 1016 (9th Cir. 2005)(extradition judge does not have authority to consider humanitarian objections to extradition); Koskotas v. Roche, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The constitutionality of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
    • United States
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Vol. 98 Nbr. 3, March 2008
    • March 22, 2008
    ...229 U.S. 447 (1913); Wright v. Henkel, 190 U.S. 40 (1903); In re Chan Seong-I, 346 F. Supp. 2d 1149 (D.N.M. 2004); Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009 (9th Cir. 2004); In re Munguia, 294 F. Supp. 2d 893 (S.D. Tex. 2003); In re Sacirbegovic, 280 F. Supp. 2d 81 (S.D.N.Y. 2003); DeSilva v. DiLeo......