Local lawyers react to extradition of Joran van der Sloot

The suspect in the disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway is faced with extradition to the United States on fraud charges. Dutchman Joran van der Sloot is currently in a maximum-security prison in Peru serving a 28-year sentence for the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores.

Van der Sloot will be in Birmingham to face extortion and wire fraud charges related to an alleged attempt to extort the Holloway family for money in exchange for details about how Holloway died and where her remains are located.

Alabama Criminal Attorney Joel Sogol told WVUA 23 News that extradition requires the government to file paperwork wherever a suspect is being held in custody before being brought back to the original location where the charges were filed.

“Extradition is a process that is common across the country from state to state. If he was in New York, they would extradite him to Alabama. What it generally means is a warrant exists for him and that warrant has been served on whatever the government entity is wherever he is,” said Sogol.

University of Alabama, School of Law Director Amy Kimpel said the timeline of the extradition and trial is individualized. It is unknown when a suspect is brought back to the area of jurisdiction.

“Right now in the state of Alabama we don’t have statutory speedy trial rights. It’s taking a while for people to get a trial even once they are here,” said Kimpel.

Kimpel stated if Joran van der Sloot is brought from Peru to Birmingham the very next day, it still can take years for this case to go to trial.

18-year-old Natalee Holloway, who was from Mountain Brook, was last seen in the early hours of May 30, 2005, leaving a nightclub in Aruba with van der Sloot and two other men. Holloway’s body has not been found. An Alabama judge signed an order in 2012 declaring her legally dead.

According to CNN Natalee’s mother Beth Holloway, wired $15,000 to a bank account van der Sloot held in the Netherlands and through an attorney gave him another $10,000 in person, the indictment states. Once he had the initial $25,000, van der Sloot showed the attorney, John Kelly, where Natalee Holloway’s remains allegedly were hidden, but the information turned out to be false, the indictment states.

The indictment seeks for van der Sloot to forfeit $25,100, including $100 Beth Holloway initially transferred to van der Sloot to confirm his account.

News of van der Sloot’s impending arrival in the U.S. brought long-awaited relief to Holloway’s family.

“I was blessed to have had Natalee in my life for 18 years, and as of this month, I have been without her for exactly 18 years,” the statement said. “She would be 36 years old now. It has been a very long and painful journey, but the persistence of many is going to pay off. Together, we are finally getting justice for Natalee.”

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