Jaffe v. Snow – International Human Rights and Solidarity – CCR Docket Spring 1994

CCR joined with Yale’s Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic and the International Human Rights Law Group in an amicus brief in September, 1993 requesting that the Supreme Court grant certiorari, or review, in the case of a woman whose husband was kidnapped by bounty-hunters in Canada and taken to Florida.

The case raises an issue brought up the recent Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v Alvarez-Machain, which held that a kidnapped fugitive could not raise the kidnapping as a defense to his criminal prosecution, but the court did not decide whether the kidnappers could be sued for damages.

Ruth Jaffe had won a money judg­ment against her husband’s kidnapper: in an Ontario, Canada court, but the lower court in Florida refused to recognize or enforce the Canadian judgment The Florida court claimed that international prohibitions against transborder kidnappings did not apply because Jaffe: was a “fugitive from justice.”

The amicus brief pointed out that even though private individuals carried out the kidnapping, their conduct violated the “law of nations,” which the l is obligated to uphold, and the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Canada. Furthermore, the brief asserted that trans-border kidnappings are illegal, whether the victim is a fugitive or not,

Michael Ratner and Harold Hongju Koh of the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic of Yale School of Law and Janelle M. Diller, International Human rights Law Group