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In re Extradition of Gordon

November 19, 2010

IN THE MATTER OF THE EXTRADITION OF MAGISTRATE ROBERT GORDON


The opinion of the court was delivered by: L. Felipe Restrepo United States Magistrate Judge

Memorandum and Opinion

I. Factual Background*fn1

On February 18, 2008, a Justice of the Peace at the South and South East Hampshire Magistrates Court in Great Britain issued a warrant for the arrest of Robert Gordon, a native of the United Kingdom and a United States citizen residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The British Magistrates Court charged Mr. Gordon with indecent assault, gross indecency with a child, and inciting a child to commit gross indecency, for acts Mr. Gordon allegedly committed between March 27, 1973 and March 28, 1977.

The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland subsequently sought Mr. Gordon's extradition pursuant to its extradition treaty with the United States and to federal legislation implementing such treaties. Extradition Treaty Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, U.S.-U.K., March 31, 2003, S. Treaty Doc. No. 108-23 (2004) (hereinafter "Extradition Treaty"); 18 U.S.C. § 3184 et seq. On August 19, 2008, the United States government prepared an extradition complaint on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The same day, the United States Magistrate Judge Timothy R. Rice issued a warrant for Mr. Gordon's arrest; Mr. Gordon was arrested and detained on August 20, 2008.

On August 22, 2008, Mr. Gordon appeared before Judge Rice, represented by attorney Margaret M. Grasso. During his appearance that day, Mr. Gordon signed an Affidavit of Waiver of Extradition (Doc. No. 8), waiving his rights under the Extradition Treaty and agreeing to be transported in custody to the United Kingdom. In the Affidavit of Waiver of Extradition, Mr. Gordon:

(1) conceded that he was the individual against whom charges were pending in the United Kingdom and for whom process was outstanding in the United Kingdom;

(2) averred that he fully understood that, in the absence of signing a waiver of his rights, he could not be compelled to return to the United Kingdom unless and until a court in the United States issued a ruling certifying his extraditability and the Secretary of State of the United States ordered his extradition by issuing a warrant of surrender;

(3) averred that he reviewed the complaint and fully understood his right to a hearing during which he and his counsel could challenge the extradition request;

(4) averred that he understood that, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 3184, he was entitled to a hearing at which certain facts would need to be established, including that probable cause existed to believe that he committed the offenses for which extradition was requested; and

(5) waived his rights under the extradition treaty and agreed to be transported in custody to the United Kingdom. (Aff. of Waiver Extradition, Doc. No. 8).

On September 12, 2008, Mr. Gordon surrendered to the custody of British police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was transported to the United Kingdom on a flight that same day. After a trial on the merits in the United Kingdom in December 2008, Mr. Gordon was acquitted on all counts.

Mr. Gordon filed a Petition for Expungement (Doc. No. 16) on March 9, 2010, requesting an order expunging all records pertaining to his arrest and extradition. In the Petition, Mr. Gordon argues that his U.S. criminal record of arrest and extradition has caused him great hardship and embarrassment in the United States, despite his acquittal. (Pet. for Expungement at 6, 7.) Specifically, he notes that (A) he was acquitted of all criminal charges; (B) the nature of the charges is abhorrent to society, humiliating, and "severely blemish[es] his character"; (C) the charges were likely fabricated as an act of vengeance; (D) the charges led to extreme hardship, uncertainty, and humiliation; (E) the charges led to uncertainties in Petitioner's naturalization process for United States citizenship; and (F) the charges continue to cause Petitioner anxiety whenever his criminal record must be checked for employment, housing, education or other purposes. (Id.) Due to these compelling circumstances, he argues, the Court should grant his Petition and expunge his criminal record. (Id. at 6.)

On August 23, 2010, this Court ordered the parties to brief the issue of whether a federal court in this Circuit has jurisdiction to consider Mr. Gordon's Petition for Expungement. (Doc. No. 17). For the reasons that follow, the ...


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