Interstate Probation Cases

Article 1, section 10 of the Constitution—the Compacts Clause—authorizes two or more states to enter into agreements or compacts with one another, provided they have the consent of Congress. Dozens of “interstate compacts” have arisen over the years. Many of you have probably used the services of some of the more prominent ones, like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages many of the bridges, tunnels, and airports that serve New York City, or the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority, which most people know simply as Metro. Other compacts have a nationwide (or nearly nationwide) scope, and are meant to improve coordination between the states on shared issues—like the Driver License Compact (through which member states share information on traffic violations), or the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (which facilitates adoptive or foster care placements that cross state lines). Today’s post is about the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision, or ICAOS, which allows covered offenders to move from the state in which they were convicted (the sending state) to another state (the receiving state).

First formed in the 1930s as the Interstate Compact for the Supervision of Parolees and Probationers, ICAOS now includes all fifty states and the District of Columbia. North Carolina, which has participated in the compact since 1951, adopted its most recent version of the compact agreement in 2002 in Article 4B of Chapter 148 of the General Statutes. Probationers who want to transfer supervision from North Carolina to another state, or who want to come from another state to be supervised here, must satisfy North Carolina’s laws and the ICAOS rules. A key component of the ICAOS rules is that offenders must, before moving, waive their right to the extradition process as a condition of transferring supervision. Compact Rule 3.109. Having waived extradition in advance, offenders who violate probation in the receiving state do not need to be extradited back to the sending state; instead, the sending state may simply retake the offender. The issue has not come up in North Carolina, but advance waivers of extradition rights have generally been upheld in other jurisdictions. See State v. Maglio, 459 A.2d 1209, 1212–13 (N.J. Super. 1983) (collecting cases).

Not everyone sentenced to probation is eligible for transfer under the compact, but if an offender is eligible, he or she may only relocate to another state through the compact. Compact Rule 2.110. So who is eligible? You have to sort through a few of the Compact Rules to figure that out. All felony offenders are eligible, but, under Rule 2.105, only certain misdemeanants are covered. A misdemeanor offender must have a sentence that includes one year or more of probation supervision, and must be under supervision for an offense that (1) caused “direct or threatened physical or psychological harm,” (2) involves the use or possession of a firearm, (3) was a second or subsequent DWI, or (4) requires registration as a sex offender.

The decision of whether or not to allow an eligible offender to move rests not with the sentencing court, but rather with the compact administrator of the sending state. Rule 3.101. (The compact rules make transfer mandatory for certain military members and other offenders whose employer transfers them or a member of their family to another state. Rule 3.101-1.) Under G.S. 148-65.7, North Carolina offenders seeking transfer to another state must pay a $150 transfer application fee to our state’s compact administrator in Raleigh, although the fee can be waived by the administrator if it places an undue economic burden on the offender. Receiving states must accept offenders who have more than 90 days of supervision remaining and who are residents of the receiving state, or have family members and a job or means of support there. Rule 3.101. A receiving state may accept other offenders in its discretion. Rule 3.101-2.

When a person is transferred under the compact, he or she is subject to the supervision conditions ordered by the sending state, the compact rules, and any additional conditions added by the receiving state—though these additional conditions may be no more onerous than those imposed on similar in-state offenders. Rule 4.103.

The national ICAOS office produces a helpful bench book that addresses many frequently asked questions about the compact. In another post I’ll cover the violation and retaking processes applicable to compact offenders.