Extradition Case Delayed in South Bend at Irish Priest's Request

By Jeff Parrott
South Bend Tribune
November 19, 2009

SOUTH BEND — A judge today postponed an extradition hearing for an Irish priest charged with sexually abusing a minor, giving his attorney more time to research Irish law.

The Irish government wants to extradite the Rev. Francis Markey, 81, of South Bend, on charges that he twice raped a boy in 1968 in his native Ireland.

A fact-finding hearing on the extradition request had been set for 10 a.m. today, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Neuchterlein ordered the hearing continued until Dec. 10, on a motion from Markey's attorney, Robert Truitt.

The U.S. government, which is seeking Markey's extradition on Ireland's behalf, objected to the continuance.

Neuchterlein has told Truitt and the government that he wants to receive written briefs from both sides at least 24 hours before the fact-finding hearing.

Truitt told the magistrate he needs more time to research whether a 1993 change in Irish criminal law prohibits Markey from legally being extradited for the alleged crimes.

An unnamed University of Notre Dame law professor has "provided some helpful information" to Truitt regarding the "dual criminality doctrine which is part of the elements of this Court's findings on extradition," Truitt wrote the magistrate judge. "It has become apparent that the additional time will be necessary for the defense team to research and present what counsel believes to be issues extremely germane to the extraditability of Fr. Markey."

The dual criminality doctrine means that in order for someone to be extradited from one country to another, the alleged offense must be a crime in both countries.

Child sexual abuse is a crime in both Ireland and the United States, but Truitt's motion indicates he might want to research whether the statute of limitations has expired in one of the nations.

"This case presents unique issues due to the extreme lapse in time between the alleged offense and the date Fr. Markey was charged with the crime," Truitt wrote.

Truitt did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Assistant U.S. attorney Kenneth Hays objected to the delay. In his written motion, Hays argued that today's hearing was intended to take evidence on the facts regarding the extradition request, but Truitt wants to debate Irish law.

"While there may be issues about Irish law as it relates to the time lapse between the date of the charged offenses and the charging date," Hays wrote, "any such question is a matter of Irish law and should be addressed in that country whose judges and lawyers are experts in their law."

After a week in the St. Joseph County Jail, Markey was released Monday on a $10,000 cash bond. He had to surrender his passport and promise not to leave the area.

Staff writer Jeff Parrott: 235-6320


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