US judge refuses to stop extradition of former Lithuania judge
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US judge refuses to stop extradition of former Lithuania judge

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [judicial website] ruled [opinion] Thursday that the court will not stop the extradition of former Lithuanian judge Neringa Venckiene.

The charges stem from Venckiene’s allegations [AP report] that powerful Lithuanian officials were involved in a pedophile ring. The charges against her include stalking, disobeying a court order and assaulting a police officer. Venckiene maintains that the charges are politically motivated.

When a bilateral extradition treaty exists, as it does between the US and Lithuania, the defendant’s case is heard by a magistrate, who then gives the findings to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State has the discretion to sign for the extradition.

The Secretary of State had already signed for Venckiene’s extradition. District Judge Virginia Kendall wrote in the opinion:

Under the rule of non-inquiry, the Secretary of State has sole authority to consider other factors such as the requesting state’s political motivations, whether the requesting state’s justice system is fair, and whether the request should be denied on humanitarian grounds.

The Secretary’s decision is only subjected to judicial review in the event that it would violate constitutional rights.

Venckiene says she fears for her life if she is extradited. However, the court took into account the facts that she will be given a trial in Lithuania and that the maximum punishment for her crimes is three years imprisonment. The court found that there was nothing unconstitutional about the Secretary of State’s decision to extradite.