United States v. Cuevas, No. 06-0607-cr (2d Cir. August 23, 2007) (Cardamone, Straub, CJJ, Koeltl, DJ
In this case, the defendant Jose Cuevas, who was extradited to the United States from the Dominican Republic, argued, with out success, that a 30-year sentencing cap contained in the extradition decree should apply to him.
Cuevas was charged, in the late 1990’s, with drug trafficking and money laundering offenses. He was home in the Dominican Republic at the time and, not unwisely, decided to remain there.
Undeterred, the government initiated extradition proceedings. After much diplomatic back-and-forth, the D.R. handed Cuevas over to American authorities on July 6,2002. Two weeks later, the U.S. received a copy of the extradition decree itself, signed by the president of the D.R. which invoked a treaty requirement that a “no penalty greater than … thirty years shall be imposed.” Unimpressed with this, Judge Rakoff ultimately sentenced Cuevas to …