I first met Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jan Maurizi in 2002.
They are among the 350 victim families who have pleaded with U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexico`s President Vicente Fox to send cold-blooded killers back from Mexico to California for trial.
No one can fathom why Bush is disengaged. The White House cites….well, nothing.
Although Bush speaks often of "bringing terrorists to justice," he has been conspicuously absent from the concerted effort of California law enforcement officers who insist that Mexico comply with original Extradition Treaty signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.
According to the treaty, any offense is extraditable if it is a crime in both countries and punishable by incarceration for a period of one year or more.
But Mexico is slippery. In an October 2001 Supreme Court decision, Mexico ruled that it would not extradite unless criminals would be spared not only the death sentence (as per the Extradition Treaty. See exact language here: Extradition/Foreign Prosecution, Mexico) but also life imprisonment.
Mexico, ever hypocritical, insists that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. And, with its 2001 decision, Mexico further claims that life sentences deny criminals an opportunity at rehabilitation.
The bottom line is that Mexico will not extradite unless prosecutors guarantee a fixed term sentence—even for murder. No district attorney in the country will allow Mexico to dictate sentencing terms
But as the saying goes, "The wheels of justice grind slowly but they grind exceeding fine."
Earlier this week, Maurizi updated me on her progress:
"I know I haven`t been in touch for a while because I have been absolutely swamped with the minutia of our efforts regarding extradition. I`ve probably drafted 1,000 documents, had hundreds of meetings, conference calls, etc, etc, since we last met. We are making considerable progress and I look forward to the day when we can meet again to CELEBRATE our victories and map out our plan for future efforts. I can promise you that not a day goes by that we don`t make some small progress on our ultimate goal of getting our fugitives back."
"In the meantime, we are finally about to launch www.escapingjustice.com this Wednesday, November 17th. District Attorney Steve Cooley and I will be introducing the site to about 11,000 Chiefs of Police on that date and it will be available to all of you and your friends that evening. Remember that it is an interactive website and can be changed or added to at any time."
One of the website`s most interesting features is a timeline of the legislative milestones paving the way toward a meaningful extradition policy.
Among the key developments are:
Feinstein`s resolution generated strong letters of support from the National Troopers Coalition, the California State Sheriffs` Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, Inc. and the National Narcotics Officers` Associations Coalitions.
Dennis J. Slocumb, International Vice President of the International Union of Police Associations wrote to Senator Joseph Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime.
Slocumb`s letter, written on behalf of 100,000 officers nationwide, summarizes how American feel about the tacit agreement between Fox and Bush to ignore extradition:
"Our nation`s citizens have a right to expect that persons committing serious crimes will not be offered safe haven in a country that professes to be our friend. For years, Mexico has refused to extradite persons facing capital punishment in the US. Since October 2001, Mexico has extended that ban to persons facing life imprisonment.
With the porous border and expanding international travel between the US and Mexico, hundreds of criminals who are fleeing justice from serious crimes here are being given sanctuary in Mexico. This policy actually provides incentive for people wanted for serious crimes here to kill an officer trying to make an arrest and head for Mexico."
During the I.A.P.C conference, Maurizi presented a brief history of the case of Ira Einhorn—the counter-culture icon who was deported from France to face a 1977 murder charge.
To everyone involved in bringing the fugitives back from Mexico, Maurizi said:
"Thanks for your enduring patience and please keep the faith—together we`ll get there."
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.