Fugitive From Justice Law & Legal Definition


A fugitive from justice is a person who flees a jurisdiction to avoid prosecution for a crime or to avoid giving testimony in any criminal proceeding. Another jurisdiction's Governor has the authority, under the U.S. Constitution, to extradite the person back to the jurisdiction where the fugitive allegedly committed a crime.

The U.S. Constitution, Art.IV, s.2, provides that "a person charged in any state with treason, felony or other crime, who shall flee from justice and be found in another state, shall, on demand of the executive authority of the same state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime."

A person who is a fugitive from justice may not use the resources of the civil legal system while disregarding its lawful orders in a related criminal action. Under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (“CAFRA”), any person who, in order to avoid criminal prosecution, purposely leaves the jurisdiction of the United States, declines to enter or reenter the United States to submit to its jurisdiction, or otherwise evades the jurisdiction of the court where a criminal case is pending against the person, may not use the resources of the courts of the United States in furtherance of a claim in any related civil forfeiture action or a claim in third-party proceedings in any related criminal forfeiture action.