The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER CERTIFYING EXTRADITION
/ Introduction and Summary
The extraditee in this case, Adolfo Gilbert Paredes Vigil ("Vigil"), seeks to have this court not certify him to the Secretary of State for extradition to Sweden on account of his conviction for financial crimes in that country. See 18 U.S.C. § 3184. Vigil takes a weak swing at alleging fundamental due process errors in his conviction, but rests his primary argument on the assertion that he would be tortured if sent back to Sweden to serve his prison sentence. He would not, as he argues, be tortured by the Swedish government per se, but rather by members of a prison gang working on behalf of persons on the outside who are antagonistic to him for personal/business reasons. He then asserts that the Swedish government is powerless, either by design or ineptitude, to counteract the gang actions.
For the reasons set forth herein, the undersigned certifies Vigil's extradition to Sweden. Vigil may not challenge a conviction on the grounds that there is not probable cause for extradition. Moreover, this court has no jurisdiction in an extradition proceeding to determine whether circumstances in Sweden relative to Vigil's safety should preclude his transfer to that country. Only the Secretary of State has the authority to make such a determination. Background Facts
Vigil, a native of Peru and not Sweden, went to Sweden and helped
establish a restaurant cleaning and dishwashing business.*fn1
He was found by the Swedish government to be the principal
owner/manager of the business, although Vigil did have a business
partner. According to the Swedish government, the business had yearly
revenues in excess of $1,000,000, at least for a short period of time.
However, after a time, Vigil's business stopped filing appropriate tax
returns, including forms for a value added tax common in European
countries and payroll taxes. He was alleged to have paid his employees
in cash, ostensibly to avoid paying required payroll taxes.
After investigation, including Vigil's submission of documentary evidence, Vigil was convicted in June 2004 by the Stockholm City Court of bookkeeping and tax avoidance crimes, specifically: Chapter 11, Section 5 of the Swedish Penal Code, Section 4 of the Tax Penal Act, and section 10, para. 1 of the Tax Penal Act. Vigil's business partner was convicted of the same crimes. His defense had essentially been that he was ignorant of the complexities of Swedish law, and that whatever accounting mess suffered by his business was not his fault. Vigil had supplied a lengthy defensive statement to the Swedish authorities.
The precise nature of the hearing received by Vigil in the Stockholm City Court is not described in the record. However, it is clear that Vigil was present during the hearing, however described, and he was represented by a Swedish lawyer. See Ruling of the Stockholm City Court at page 8 referring to Vigil's " testimony" [either written or oral]. See also Ruling at page 10: "Adolfo Paredes Vigil has stated the following: He came to Sweden from Peru.... [detailing a lengthy defense]." Vigil filed an appeal, but because he had left the country for Peru before the appeal was heard, and was inexcusably not present for the appellate hearing, the appeal was denied (April 2006).
After his conviction became final by virtue of the denial of appeal, and after leaving Peru, Vigil entered the United States in or about May 2006. According to Exhibit 1 of the United States' brief filed December 3, 2012, Vigil was not lawfully in the United States as of October 31, 2012; he has been noticed to appear for a removal hearing (dated August 23, 2012). Vigil contests the immigration status asserted by the government.
Federal Court Proceedings
Upon complaint and issuance of warrant in this district by the undersigned, Vigil was arrested on September 4, 2012, and brought before the undersigned on September 5, 2012 for initial appearance on extradition proceedings. Petitioner was represented by attorney Daniel Karalash. Because Mr. Karalash was new to the case and needed to be apprised of the facts in order to decide whether to contest a certification of extradition, an extradition hearing was set for October 3, 2012. By two stipulations and orders filed by Mr. Karalash, who requested further time to prepare, the hearing was continued to October 31, 2012. Prior to the time of the sought continuances, the United States had filed its memorandum concerning the requirements for Vigil's extradition.
The court anticipated that if the extradition were to be opposed, Vigil would file his reasons for non-extradition prior to the set hearing. Based on the fact that most extraditions in this district are not ultimately opposed, no specific filing times were set. On the day of the hearing, Vigil's attorney announced that he would indeed oppose extradition, and appeared ready to proceed to a "criminal case like trial" on October 31, 2012. Because the grounds for opposition were completely unknown to the undersigned, and an extradition hearing is not like a criminal trial, briefing dates were set on the record, and the type of hearing, if any, would be set upon receipt of the briefing.
After the briefing was timely received, Mr. Karalash was queried whether he desired a hearing and an affirmative response was received. Mr. Karalash requested that the hearing be held on January 24, 2013.
Most extradition proceedings involve situations where a person has been charged with a crime, but has yet to proceed to a trial or other type dispositional proceeding in the country seeking extradition. In such a situation, the court must find that: the judicial officer is authorized to conduct the ...