United States District Court, C.D. California
IN RE THE MATTER OF THE EXTRADITION OF EDGAR ORLANDO CAMELO-GRILLO
SUZANNE H. SEGAL, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a proceeding under 18 U.S.C. § 3184 pursuant to a
request by the Republic of Colombia (“Colombia”),
through the United States Government (“the
Government”), for the extradition of Colombian national
Edgar Orlando Camelo-Grillo (“Camelo-Grillo”)
under the provisions of the Treaty of Extradition between the
United States of America and the Republic of Colombia, signed
on September 14, 1979, S. Treaty Doc. No. 97-8 (1981)
December 6, 2016, the Government filed a Request for
Extradition, (“Request, ” Dkt. No. 16), supported
by three multi- document exhibits. (Dkt. No. 17). On January
13, 2017, the Government filed a Memorandum of Law in Support
of Extradition. (“Memo., ” Dkt. No. 20).
Camelo-Grillo filed an Opposition on March 16, 2017.
(“Opp., ” Dkt. No. 24). The Government filed a
Reply on March 27, 2017, including one multi-document
exhibit. (“Reply, ” Dkt. No. 25). On
June 6, 2017, the Court conducted a hearing pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 3184. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
hereby CERTIFIES to the Secretary of State of the United
States the extraditability of Camelo-Grillo on the charged
instant extradition request arises from a 2001 decision of
the Special Criminal Circuit Court 6 in the Judicial District
of Bogota. According to the facts set forth in that decision,
late on July 11, 1992, three drive-by shooters in Bogota,
Colombia killed a man named John Henry Cely-Pinilla and fled.
(Exh. C at 88, 90, 92). Shortly thereafter, police officers
Julio Cesar Gutierrez-Garcia and Juan Sepulveda-Enciso,
tipped off by a witness who saw where the shooters had taken
refuge, arrived at a nearby residence in pursuit of the
killers. (Id.). Shots were fired at the officers
from inside the home, one of which struck and killed Officer
Gutierrez-Garcia. (Id. at 88, 90). Lieutenant
Leonardo Baron-Salazar followed a trail of blood up to the
third floor of the home and concluded that one of the
home's occupants had leapt through an open window to a
neighboring residence. (Id. at 90). There Lieutenant
Baron-Salazar found Camelo-Grillo, injured and bloodied, with
a revolver, five cartridges and a grenade. (Id. at
90-91, 93). Cely-Pinilla's brother, an eyewitness to the
drive-by shooting, later identified Camelo-Grillo as one of
the shooters in the vehicle. (Id. at 92).
year later, on July 12, 1993, a criminal court convicted
Camelo-Grillo of the murders of Cely-Pinilla and Officer
Gutierrez-Garcia, and of illegal carriage of weapons, and
sentenced him to a sixteen-year prison term. (Id. at
88; see also Id. at 62-69 (July 1993 decision)).
Three months later, on September 15, 1993, despite the trial
court's certainty that Camelo-Grillo had committed both
murders, a reviewing court vacated the conviction for the
murder of Cely-Pinilla because the indictment did not
properly lay out charges for that crime. (Id. at 88;
see also Id. at 70-83 (September 1993 decision)). At
the same time, the court affirmed the convictions for the
murder of Officer Gutierrez-Garcia and for illegal carriage
of weapons. (Id. at 83). The court then reduced
Camelo-Grillo's sentence to a term of ten years and three
months on those two surviving convictions. (Id.).
under two years later, on July 26, 1995, the Colombian
Supreme Court of Justice, Criminal Cassation Bench, vacated
Camelo-Grillo's original murder convictions on procedural
grounds. (Id. at 89; see also Id. at 41-52
(July 1995 decision)). According to the court,
Camelo-Grillo's case should have been assigned to a
newly-created “jurisdiction, which was assigned the
duties of investigation and trial” for certain
“special” matters, including homicides of police
personnel. (Id. at 45). Pending reassignment
of the murder investigation to the proper tribunal, the court
granted Camelo-Grillo “the benefit of provisional
release” contingent on the lodgment of a surety and his
signing a “commitment” as provided in Article 419
of the Colombian Criminal Procedure Code. (Id. at
Colombian Special Terrorism Unit issued an indictment against
Camelo-Grillo on April 16, 1996 for the crime of homicide
“under Article 8 of Decree 2790/1990, amended by
Article 1 of Decree 099/1991[, ] and Article 2.2 of Decree
2326/1991, adopted as permanent legislation under Article 12
of Decree 2266/1991.” (Id. at 89). Special
Criminal Court 6 in Bogota held a public hearing on April 18,
2001, (id.), and on May 8, 2001, convicted Camelo-Grillo in
absentia of the murder of Officer Gutierrez-Garcia.
(Id. at 88) (stating that the public hearing in
Camelo-Grillo's 2001 “criminal trial [was]
conducted in his absence”). The court sentenced
Camelo-Grillo to a fifteen-year term of imprisonment,
“taking account of the time during which he [had
previously been] detained due to this case.”
(Id. at 96). Arrest warrants issued on September 18,
2001, (id. at 86-87), and appear to have been reissued by the
Sentences and Precautionary Measures Court in Bogota several
times, including on April 12, 2013, (id. at 12-13), and June
9, 2014. (Id. at 14-15). The Government represents,
and Camelo-Grillo does not dispute, that the warrants
“remain active and enforceable.” (Memo. at 3).
9, 2015, Colombia tendered a diplomatic note to the
Department of State requesting Camelo-Grillo's
extradition to serve the remainder of his sentence for
Officer Gutierrez-Garcia's murder. (Exh. A at 5).
Fourteen months later, on August 12, 2016, the Government
filed a complaint in this Court for Camelo-Grillo's
arrest and extradition. See United States v. Edgar
Orlando Camelo-Grillo, C.D. Cal. Case No. M 16-1621
DUTY, Dkt. No. 1. Camelo-Grillo was captured in Los Angeles
three days later, on August 15, 2016. (Exh. A at 7). On
September 29, 2016, Colombia submitted another diplomatic
note to the State Department, (id. at 6), to which it
attached a letter from the Execution of Sentences and
Precautionary Measures Court 24 in Bogota responding to the
Government's question in a “Verbal Note of
September 12, 2016” concerning the statute of
limitations in Camelo-Grillo's case. (Id. at
7-8). The instant Request for Extradition followed on
December 6, 2016.
from the United States is a diplomatic process' that is
initiated when a foreign nation requests extradition of an
individual from the State Department.” Manta v.
Chertoff, 518 F.3d 1134, 1140 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting
Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009, 1010 (9th Cir.
2005)). As such, “[e]xtradition is a matter of foreign
policy entirely within the discretion of the executive
branch, except to the extent that the statute [18 U.S.C.
§ 3184] interposes a judicial function.” Vo v.
Benov, 447 F.3d 1235, 1237 (9th Cir. 2006). The Ninth
Circuit has recently summarized the extradition process, and
the judiciary's limited role in it, as follows:
The process begins when the foreign state seeking extradition
makes a request directly to the U.S. Department of State. If
the State Department determines that the request falls within
the governing extradition treaty, a U.S. Attorney files a
complaint in federal district court indicating an intent to
extradite and seeking a provisional warrant for the person
sought. See [Vo, 447 F.3d at 1237]; see also 18 U.S.C. §
3184. Once the warrant is issued, the district court, which
may include a magistrate judge, conducts a hearing to
determine “whether there is ‘evidence sufficient
to sustain the charge under the provisions of the proper
treaty or convention, ' or, in other words, whether there
is probable cause.” Vo, 447 F.3d at 1237 (quoting in
part 18 U.S.C. § 3184).
The Supreme Court has described these extradition hearings to
determine probable cause as akin to a grand jury
investigation or a preliminary hearing under Federal Rule of
Criminal Procedure 5.1. See, e.g., Charlton v.
Kelly, 229 U.S. 447, 461-62, 33 S.Ct. 945, 57 L.Ed. 1274
(1913); Benson v. McMahon, 127 U.S. 457, 463, 8
S.Ct. 1240, 32 L.Ed. 234 (1888); [Ronald J. Hedges,
International Extradition: A Guide for Judges (Federal
Judicial Center 2014) (“FJC Manual”)] at 10. . .
. We have said that the extradition court's review is
limited to determining, first, whether the crime of which the
person is accused is extraditable, that is, whether it falls
within the terms of the extradition treaty between the United
States and the requesting state, and second, whether there is
probable cause to believe the person committed the crime
charged. See, e.g., Cornejo-Barreto v. Seifert, 218
F.3d 1004, 1009 (9th Cir. 2000), overruled on other grounds
by Trinidad y Garcia v. Thomas, 683 F.3d 952, 957
(9th Cir. 2012) (en banc); see also Zanazanian v. United
States, 729 F.2d 624, 625-26 (9th Cir. 1984) (describing
the inquiry as “whether:  the extradition judge had
jurisdiction to conduct proceedings;  the extradition
court had jurisdiction over the fugitive;  the extradition
treaty was in full force and effect;  the crime fell
within the terms of the treaty; and  there was competent
legal evidence to support a finding of
[¶] . . . [T]he scope of the extradition court's
review “is limited to a narrow set of issues concerning
the existence of a treaty, the offense charged, and the
quantum of evidence offered. The larger assessment of
extradition and its consequences is committed to the
Secretary of State.” [United States v. Kin-Hong,
110 F.3d 103, 110 (1st Cir. 1997)]. . . . [C]ourts have
emphasized that “[t]he person charged is not to be
tried in this country for crimes he is alleged to have
committed in the requesting country. That is the task of the
. . . courts of the other country.” [Eain v.
Wilkes, 641 F.2d 504, 508 (7th Cir. 1981)]; see FJC
Manual at 10 (“An extradition hearing is not a criminal
trial and is not intended to ascertain guilt.”). So
long as “the judicial officer determines that there is
probable cause, he ‘is required to certify the
individual as extraditable to the Secretary of
State.'” Vo, 447 F.3d at 1237 (quoting Blaxland
v. Commonwealth Dir. of Pub. Prosecutions, 323 F.3d
1198, 1208 (9th Cir. 2003)).
Given the limited nature of extradition proceedings, neither
the Federal Rules of Evidence nor the Federal Rules of
Criminal Procedure apply. See Mainero v. Gregg, 164
F.3d 1199, 1206 (9th Cir. 1999); see also Fed. R. Crim. P.
1(a)(5)(A). Instead, 18 U.S.C. § 3190 provides that
evidence may be admitted as long as the evidence is
authenticated and would “be received for similar
purposes by the tribunals of the foreign country from which
the accused party shall have escaped.” The accused,
however, does not have the right to introduce evidence in
defense because that would require the government seeking his
extradition “to go into a full trial on the merits in a
foreign country.” [Collins v. Loisel, 259 U.S.
309, 316 (1922)] (quoting In re Wadge, 15 F. 864,
866 (S.D.N.Y. 1883)). . . . [¶]
If the extradition court determines that there is probable
cause to extradite, it enters an order certifying extradition
to the Secretary of State, who ultimately decides whether to
surrender the individual to the requesting state. 18 U.S.C.
§ 3186; Vo, 447 F.3d at 1237; [Quinn v.
Robinson, 783 F.2d 776, 789 (9th Cir. 1986)]; Exec.
Order No. 11, 517, 35 Fed. Reg. 4, 937 (Mar. 19, 1970),
reprinted in 18 U.S.C. § 3193 Historical & Revision
Santos v. Thomas, 830 F.3d 987, 991-93 (9th Cir.
2016) (en banc); see also Manta, 518 F.3d at 1140 (the court
“must certify the extradition” if it concludes
that “the crime is extraditable” and that
“there is probable cause to sustain the charge”).
A certification of extradibility “can only be
challenged via a writ of habeas corpus, because the order is
not final and there is no other statutory provision for
direct appeal of an extradition order.” Santos, 830
F.3d at 993.