Reversing Course, Prosecutors Vow to Pursue Fugitives


Amid criticism touched off by a USA Today investigation, authorities across the country are promising to bring thousands of fugitives back to face justice, regardless of where they are found. The newspaper reported in March that more than 330,000 accused felons — including some wanted in rapes and murders — have escaped the charges against them merely by crossing a state border because police and prosecutors secretly decided in advance not to go that far to retrieve them.

The system was criticized by victim advocates. Since then, officials from Florida to Pennsylvania reversed those decisions by the thousands, informing the FBI that they intend to retrieve fugitives from anywhere in the country. In Philadelphia, prosecutors reviewed thousands of the city’s old felony case files and approved extradition in at least 500 cases. Other places that have made similar decisions include Bibb County, Ga.; Manatee County, Fla., Shasta County, Calif., and Greensboro, N.C.

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