Denver DA wants politics out of extradition
DENVER ” Denver’s district attorney is urging Colorado’s representatives in Washington to stay out of the fight to extradite a man accused of killing a Denver police officer and wounding another last month.
In a letter to the state’s Congressional delegation Wednesday, District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said that exerting political pressure on Mexico to return Raul Gomez-Garcia to Colorado could backfire.
“I know that there is a desire to be helpful in efforts to seek justice,” Morrissey wrote. “However, I have serious concerns about some of the public comments that have been made about the case and matters related to extradition. Comments that appear disrespectful of Mexican law or appear to be attempts to pressure Mexican officials in some way are not helpful.”
The message came the day after U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, R-Colo., discussed plans to introduce a bill that would block $66 million in aid to Mexico if the country fails to extradite, without condition, people accused of killing police officers.
The bill follows the killing of Denver Police Detective Donald Young and wounding of Detective John “Jack” Bishop on May 8. The man wanted in the shooting, Raul Gomez-Garcia, is in a Mexico jail, facing charges of second-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. He faces up to 96 years in prison if convicted.
Beauprez’s bill would cut off foreign aid to any country that doesn’t follow extradition treaties in cases of those accused of killing federal, state and local law enforcement officers.
Mexico has said it wouldn’t extradite its citizens to the United States if they could face the death penalty. The Mexican Supreme Court also has blocked extradition of suspects facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.
That policy led Morrissey to set aside a first-degree murder charge in Young’s killing.
The House of Representatives will consider a foreign aid bill in the coming weeks that includes $66 million for Mexico in fiscal year 2006. Beauprez would offer their bill as an amendment.
The Mexican government has said it is complying with the U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty of 1978 and is increasing its cooperation with U.S. authorities.
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