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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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