The Champion

June 2007 , Page 28 

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Federal Law Issues in Obtaining Evidence Abroad - Part One

By Linda Friedman Ramirez

There has been a significant growth in the 21st century for the need and use of foreign evidence in U.S. criminal courts as prosecutors target transnational crime.1 Increasingly, criminal defendants are foreign nationals who have been extradited to the United States after lengthy multinational investigations. In addition, Congress continues to enact criminal statutes with extraterritorial application to enable the prosecution of Americans and foreign nationals for a range of conduct occurring outside the United States.2 

Despite the growing importance of transnational issues in domestic prosecutions, defense counsel must overcome significant disadvantages when seeking to obtain evidence abroad or raising extraterritorial due process claims. An American attorney abroad must be certain to comply with the evidence gathering laws of the foreign country, and failure to do so may be perceived as a violation of the country’s judicial sovereignty resulting in the attorney’s arrest

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