In an Era of Budget Cuts, Felony Suspects Escape Prosecution by Crossing State Lines

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
(photo: Earl Cochran,

Thousands of violent criminals have not been brought to justice in the United States because local law enforcement lacks the money to track them down once they cross state lines.


An investigative report by USA Today found nearly 187,000 criminal cases not being pursued by police due to lack of time or money to have fugitives extradited. This total includes tens of thousands of wanted felons, with more than 3,300 accused of murder, sexual assault and robbery.


Records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed 78,878 felony suspects who won’t be extradited from anywhere but a neighboring state.


The decisions to not pursue extradition are “almost always made in secret, permit fugitives to go free in communities across the country, leaving their crimes unpunished, their victims outraged and the public at risk,” Brad Heath wrote for USA Today.


In some of the nation’s most crime-ridden cities, including Atlanta and Philadelphia, law enforcement has decided to give up on pursuing 90% or more of their felony suspects into other states.


In Los Angeles, police declined to seek extradition for at least 77 suspects wanted for murder or attempted murder, 141 for robbery and 84 for sexual assault.


The fugitives include:


A Philadelphia man who was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, but fled to Miami, where he was convicted of two counts of statutory rape.


A Florida man accused of attacking his roommate with a machete during a fight over cans of beer.


A Virginia man charged with armed robbery of a store in Newport News.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

The Ones That Get Away (by Brad Heath, USA Today)


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