Respondent, who had escaped from the Arkansas Department of
Corrections, was apprehended in California and was served with a
warrant of arrest and rendition issued by the Governor of
California pursuant to the Governor of Arkansas' request for
extradition. Respondent thereafter challenged the issuance of the
warrant in both state and federal courts. Ultimately, the
California Supreme Court issued a writ of habeas corpus directing a
California trial court to conduct an inquiry as to whether the
Arkansas penitentiary in which respondent would be confined was
presently operated in conformance with the Eighth Amendment of the
The Extradition Clause, Art. IV, § 2, cl. 2, and
its implementing statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3182, do not give the courts
of the "asylum" or "sending" State authority to inquire into the
prison conditions of the "demanding" State. Once the Governor of
California issued the warrant, claims as to constitutional defects
in the Arkansas penal system should be heard in the courts of
Arkansas, not those of California.
Certiorari granted; reversed and remanded.
The United States Constitution provides that
"[a] person charged in any State with Treason, Felony or other
Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State,
shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which
he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having
Jurisdiction of the Crime."
Art. IV, § 2, cl. 2. In this case, there is no dispute as to the
facts necessary to resolve the legal question presented. In 1975,
respondent James Dean Walker escaped from the Arkansas Department
of Corrections and remained at large until he was apprehended in
California in 1979. In December, 1979, the Governor of Arkansas
requested the arrest and rendition of respondent, alleging that
respondent was a fugitive from
Page 449 U. S. 87
justice. In February, 1980, the Governor of California honored
the request of the Governor of Arkansas and duly issued a warrant
of arrest and rendition. This warrant was then served upon
respondent by the Sheriff of El Dorado County, Cal. Respondent
thereafter challenged the Governor's issuance of the warrant in
both state and federal courts. He was unsuccessful until he reached
the Supreme Court of California, which, on April 9, 1980, issued a
writ of habeas corpus directing the Superior Court of El Dorado
"conduct hearings to determine if the penitentiary in which
Arkansas seeks to confine petitioner is presently operated in
conformance with the Eighth Amendment of the United States
Constitution and thereafter to decide the petition on its
Petitioner Sheriff contends that Art. IV, § 2, cl. 2, and its
implementing statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3182, do not give the courts of
the "asylum" or "sending" State authority to inquire into the
prison conditions of the "demanding" State. We agree. In
Michigan v. Doran, 439 U. S. 282
(1978), our most recent pronouncement on the subject, we stated
"[i]nterstate extradition was intended to be a summary and
mandatory executive proceeding derived from the language of Art.
IV, § 2, cl. 2, of the Constitution."
at 439 U. S. 288
We further stated:
"A governor's grant of extradition is prima facie
evidence that the constitutional and statutory requirements have
been met. . . . Once the governor has granted extradition, a court
considering release on habeas corpus can do no more than decide (a)
whether the extradition documents on their face are in order; (b)
whether the petitioner has been charged with a crime in the
demanding state; (c) whether the petitioner is the person named in
the request for extradition; and (d) whether the petitioner is a
fugitive. These are historic facts readily verifiable."
at 439 U. S.
Page 449 U. S. 88
In Sweeney v. Woodall, 344 U. S.
(192), this Court held that a fugitive from Alabama
could not raise in the federal courts of Ohio, the asylum State,
the constitutionality of his confinement in Alabama. We stated:
"Considerations fundamental to our federal system require that
the prisoner test the claimed unconstitutionality of his treatment
by Alabama in the courts of that State. Respondent should be
required to initiate his suit in the courts of Alabama, where all
parties may be heard, where all pertinent testimony will be readily
available, and where suitable relief, if any is necessary, may be
at 344 U. S.
We think that the Supreme Court of California ignored the
teachings of these cases when it directed one of its own trial
courts of general jurisdiction to conduct an inquiry into the
present conditions of the Arkansas penal system. Once the Governor
of California issued the warrant for arrest and rendition in
response to the request of the Governor of Arkansas, claims as to
constitutional defects in the Arkansas penal system should be heard
in the courts of Arkansas, not those of California.
"To allow plenary review in the asylum state of issues that can
be fully litigated in the charging state would defeat the plain
purposes of the summary and mandatory procedures authorized by Art.
IV, § 2."
"Michigan v. Doran, supra
at 439 U. S.
The petition for certiorari is granted, the judgment of the
Supreme Court of California is reversed, and the case is remanded
for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
Reversed and remanded.
JUSTICE MARSHALL, dissenting.
Because Michigan v. Doran, 439 U.
(1978), did not involve a claimed violation of
the Eighth Amendment, and
Page 449 U. S. 89
because Sweeney v. Woodall, 344 U. S.
(1952), did not involve a state court's decision to
grant state habeas corpus relief, I do not believe that they
control the question raised here, and I would set the case for