58 Volume 22, October–December 2016 international law update
© 2016 International Law Group, LLC. All rights reserved. ISSN 1089-5450, ISSN 1943-1287 (on-line) | www.internationallawupdate.com
In case of extradition request from
Mexico for a 2006 murder in Mexico,
Sixth Circuit considers whether statute
of limitations applies
Samuel Francisco Solano Cruz was to host a
goat roasting party for the municipal leaders of
Santa Maria Natividad, a village in the State of
Oaxaca, Mexico, and for the members of the town
band on New Year’s Day 2006. He went to a New
Year’s Eve party outside the local municipal hall
to deliver the invitations. Shortly after he arrived
he was approached by a man screaming “son
of a bitch!” and who then shot him six times. A
bystander, Antolin Cruz Reyes, who came to Solano
Cruz’s help, was shot as well. e murderer then got
in his truck and ed the scene. Both men died from
their wounds.
Avelino Cruz Martinez, then a United States
permanent resident (and a citizen since 2010) was
accused by Solano Cruz’s family of the murders.
Within two weeks of the shooting, Solano Cruz’s
widow and parents met with Cruz Martinez’s wife
and brother, who lived in Santa Maria Natividad,
before a town clerk and signed an agreement stating
that Cruz Martinez had “committed the homicide.”
e agreement also provided that Cruz Martinez’s
family would pay 50,000 pesos for the expenses
incurred by Solano Cruz’s relatives as a result of the
“unfortunate incident,” and that once the parties
accept the agreement and enact its terms the matter
shall be closed.
A few days after the families’ agreed, two
eyewitnesses made sworn statements before public
ocials, pointing to Cruz Martinez as the New
Year’s Eve murderer. On February 23, 2006, an
Oaxacan judge issued an arrest warrant charging
Cruz Martinez with “murder with the aggravating
circumstance of unfair advantage,” and notied the
public prosecutor’s oce the next day.
Following the murders, Cruz Martinez returned
to the United States—Lebanon, Tennessee. He
traveled back to Mexico a couple of times.
When in 2009, an American consular ocial
asked about the status of Cruz Martinez’s arrest
warrant the Oaxacan court responded that it was
“still pending and executable.” In May 2012, the
Mexican government led a diplomatic note with
the United States Department of State, informing
it of the charges against Cruz Martinez and
requesting his “provisional arrest.” Over a year later,
he was arrested by the American authorities. e
Mexican ocials led a formal extradition request
in August 2013.
Complying with the diplomatic, judicial, and
quasi-judicial procedures, the Secretary of State
led Mexico’s extradition request with a federal
magistrate judge in Tennessee. Cruz Martinez
raised multiple challenges to his provisional arrest
and to the extradition proceedings, which were
rejected by the magistrate judge. e magistrate
judge certied to the Secretary of State that Cruz
Martinez could be extradited. Cruz Martinez
then led a habeas corpus action contesting the
magistrate judge’s certication decision. He argued
that his prosecution has become barred by (1) the
relevant American statute of limitations and (2) the
Speedy Trial Clause of the Sixth Amendment to
the United States Constitution. e district court
denied his petition. Cruz Martinez appealed.
e United States Court of Appeals for the
Sixth Circuit arms district court’s decision.
“’Extradition shall not be granted,’ Article 7
of the United States-Mexico Extradition Treaty
says, ‘when the prosecution or the enforcement of
the penalty’ for the charged oense ‘has become
barred by lapse of time according to the laws of the
requesting or requested Party.’ Extradition Treaty,
U.S.-Mex., supra, art. 7, 31 U.S.T. at 5064-65.”
Cruz Martinez argued that the charged oense
is analogous to second-degree murder under
American federal law, meaning that a ve-year
limitations period applied to the charges. However,
the Court agrees with the panel majority’s opinion
that the statute of limitations did not expire even if
the ve-year period applies.
“’[N]o person shall be prosecuted, tried, or
punished for any [non-capital] oense,’ the ve-year
limitations statute provides, ‘unless the indictment
is found or the information is instituted within

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