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In law, rendition is a "surrender" or "handing over" of persons or property, particularly from one jurisdiction to another. For criminal suspects, extradition is the most common type of rendition. Rendition can also be seen as the act of handing over, after the request for extradition has taken place.
Rendition can also mean the act of rendering, i.e. delivering, a judicial decision, or of explaining a series of events, as a defendant or witness. It can also mean the execution of a judicial order by the directed parties. But extraordinary rendition is distinct from both deportation and extradition, being inherently illegal. 
Rendition in the United States
Each state has a presumptive duty to render suspects on the request of another state, as under the full faith and credit clause. The Supreme Court has established certain exceptions; a state may allow its own legal proceedings against a suspect to take precedence, for example. It was established in Kentucky v. Dennison that interstate rendition and extradition were not a federal writ; that is, a state could not petition the federal courts to have another state honor its request for rendition, if the state receiving the request chose not to do so. In rare cases, usually involving the death penalty, states have refused or delayed rendition. In 1987, this was overturned by Puerto Rico v. Branstad, so a federal interest in resolving interstate rendition disputes was established. Nevertheless, the right of refusal of rendition was not overturned.
Extradition for fugitives who are charged with a crime is commonly requested by state or county prosecutors. Formal interstate rendition will involve both state governors. Other procedures can involve waiving documentary formalities before surrender of the fugitive. Under the Uniform Extradition Act adopted in 48 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (but not in Mississippi and South Carolina), there is a distinction between fugitives who were in the demanding state at the time of the crime and those nonfugitives whose prior presence is not so alleged. The first type is mandatory under the United States Constitution. The less frequent second type allows for some Governor discretion. These cases can involve bad checks or failure to pay child support but they still must be criminal matters.
Bounty hunters and bondsmen once had limited authority to capture fugitives, even outside the state where they were wanted by the courts. When they deliver such a person, this is considered rendition, as it did not involve the intervention of the justice system in the state of capture. Under more recent law, bounty hunters are not legally permitted to act outside of the state where the offense took place, but cases of rendition still take place due to the financial interest the bondsmen have in returning a fugitive and recovering the bail. Formally, such fugitive cases should be turned over to the state for execution under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (1936) and the Uniform Extradition and Rendition Act (1980), if the fugitive's location is known, or the United States Marshals Service, when it is not.
Rendition was infamously used to recapture fugitive slaves, who under the Constitution and various federal laws had virtually no human rights. As the movement for abolition grew, Northern states increasingly refused to comply or cooperate with rendition of escaped slaves, leading to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. This non-cooperation was behind the longstanding principle of refusal, only reverted in the 1987 decision.
Human rights groups charge that extraordinary rendition is a violation of Article 3 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), because suspects are taken to countries where torture during interrogation remains common , thus circumventing the protections the captives would enjoy in the United States or other nations who abide by the terms of UNCAT. Its legality remains highly controversial, as the United States outlaws the use of torture, and the U.S. Constitution guarantees due process. Rendered suspects are denied due process because they are arrested without charges, deprived of legal counsel, and illegally transferred to third world country with the intent and purpose of facilitating torture and other interrogation measures which would be illegal in the USA.
- ^ U.S. Supreme Court Puerto Rico v. Branstad, 483 U.S. 219 (1987)
- ^ UNCAT Article 3 "1. No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture. 2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights."
- ^ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123690601302114439.html
- All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition
- Rendition of Anthony Burns - notorious fugitive slave law incident
- Legal history of interstate rendition
- Outsourcing Torture, from The New Yorker, February 7, 2005
- 2000 State Department list of renditions and extraditions - through 2000
- Alternatives to extradition - definition of rendition and extraordinary rendition used by the United States Department of Justice
- Friendly Renditions to Islamic Countries