A Pennsylvania man waived his right to extradition hearings Wednesday in Ellis County District Court, but could end up going free if he’s still in the Ellis County Jail at noon Monday.
In September, Magistrate Judge Richard Flax signed a fugitive warrant from Pennsylvania for John Harrison, who has been in custody in the jail. The warrant stipulated he would be returned to Pennsylvania, where he was wanted for a parole violation for a conviction of simple assault, by Oct. 15.
Harrison’s appointed attorney, Max Eulert, pointed out the wording of a state statute regarding custody in an extradition case was unclear. The statute states an individual should not be held for more than 30 days and the date specified on the warrant.
The “and” is what made the law unclear, Eulert said. He argued the 30 days should only apply if the warrant does not specify a date.
Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees said the statute also allows for reasonable time for the state issuing the warrant to pick up the individual.
“I don’t know if five days is reasonable for Pennsylvania,” Drees said.
If Harrison did not waive his extradition rights, he would likely remain in Ellis County Jail longer than 30 days for required extradition hearings. The governor of Pennsylvania would have to issue a governor’s warrant to keep him in custody.
“You may wait 60 or 90 days, but you’re going to go,” District Chief Judge Glenn Braun told Harrison.
With Harrison signing the waiver, Braun ordered Harrison remain in jail with the noon Monday deadline.
Should Pennsylvania miss that deadline, it can issue another fugitive warrant.