Click here for the basics on the Self-Help Doctrines

See UNITED STATES v. ALVAREZ-MACHAIN, 504 U.S. 655 (1992) for an example of the use of “Self-Help” by the US Government.

“Respondent, a citizen and resident of Mexico, was forcibly kidnapped from his home and flown by private plane to Texas,…”

The fact of respondent’s forcible abduction does not prohibit his trial in a United States court for violations of this country’s criminal laws. Pp. 3-15.

    (a) A defendant may not be prosecuted in violation of the terms of an extradition treaty. United States v. Rauscher, 119 U.S. 407 . However, when a treaty has not been invoked, a court may properly exercise jurisdiction even though the defendant’s presence is procured by means of a forcible abduction. Ker v. Illinois, 119 U.S. 436 . Thus, if the Extradition Treaty does not prohibit respondent’s abduction, the rule of Ker applies and jurisdiction was proper. Pp. 3-7.”


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