Eduardo Palmer, P.A. – Press Release 9/3/15
Eduardo Palmer and Omar Ibrahem of Eduardo Palmer, P.A., in Miami, Florida announce the dismissal with prejudice by United States Magistrate Judge Thomas B. Smith of an Italian request for extradition filed in the Middle District of Florida (Orlando Division) against their client, Giovanni Ferriolo. The order freed the 59-year old Mr. Ferriolo, who is in poor health and had been detained for five months pending his extradition hearing. Italy sought to extradite Mr. Ferriolo based on a 20-year old charge for alleged drug trafficking which led to a trial and conviction in abstentia in Italy based on scant evidence. The Court found that Mr. Ferriolo, who has five children and has worked his entire life in the pizza business to support his family, made no attempt to conceal his whereabouts in the U.S. over the last 20 years. The Court noted that Italy could have easily located and sought to extradite Mr. Ferriolo over the last 20 years but failed to do so for unexplained reasons.
The Court dismissed the complaint for extradition based on Italy’s failure to provide the documents required by the applicable extradition treaty between the U.S. and Italy and Italy’s failure to establish probable cause to believe that Mr. Ferriolo committed the offenses noted in the extradition request. In particular, the Court found that Italy did not comply with the provisions of the treaty which require it to submit the texts of all of the laws (in English and Italian) noted in the request for extradition. The Court ruled that without the texts of the laws in question, it could not review the elements of the crimes at issue in order to assess the sufficiency of the probable cause evidence and could not determine whether Italy has satisfied the dual criminality requirement of the treaty.
In reviewing the purported evidence of probable cause, the Court noted that Italy’s submission consisted largely of conclusory statements unsupported by any actual evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Ferriolo. In addition, the probable cause evidence contained internal contradictions which further undermined the reliability of Italy’s case. For example, one version of the probable cause evidence submitted by Italy characterized Mr. Ferriolo as a low level courier, while another claimed that he was essentially in charge of the operation and was a leader and organizer. The Court also noted that Italy had discounted the testimony of two FBI agents who testified during the in abstentia trial in Italy that their investigation failed to uncover any evidence of Mr. Ferriolo’s involvement in any of the illegal activities at issue.
Eduardo Palmer stated that “it is exceedingly rare to defeat a request for international extradition and rarer still to have the request dismissed with prejudice.” He further stated that “Mr. Ferriolo, who maintains his innocence, is delighted to be reunited with his wife and family and to return to work at his pizza shop in Orlando, Florida.”