No death penalty here for El Chapo

Infamous alleged Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera was apprehended yesterday in Mexico, following his escape from a Mexican prison in 2015.  According to CNN, El Chapo has been placed back in the maximum-security prison from which he escaped – not the most confidence-inspiring move from a government that was thumping its chest yesterday over the capture.  He was able to escape via an elaborate series of underground tunnels beneath the prison.  Now a major question that arises is whether El Chapo will be extradited to the United States.  As of February 2014, according to this WaPo article, no fewer than seven federal districts had obtained indictments against El Chapo and others in the cartel.  Despite American extradition requests, Mexico continued to hold him . . . until he escaped.

For those who think El Chapo may be a candidate for capital punishment, assuming that he is brought to the United States and charged with death-eligible offenses, I regret to say that it is almost impossible to believe that he would face the death penalty here.  This is because our extradition treaty with Mexico requires us to give assurances that we will not seek the death penalty against a person if Mexico agrees to extradite them here.  That means that even if he is extradited, the most likely scenario is that we would give assurances and the worst he could face here would be life in prison without parole.  One wonders whether that would effectively prevent him from continuing to manage and direct cartel activity on the outside.

UPDATE: CNN is reporting that Mexico will extradite El Chapo to the United States.


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