Home>Local>Maricopa>Maricopa DA Mitchell Refuses Extradition, Sparks War of Words with NY

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell speaking with attendees at a candidate forum hosted by the Arizona Legislative District 28 Republican Party at TYR Tactical in Peoria, Arizona, July 18, 2022. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Maricopa DA Mitchell Refuses Extradition, Sparks War of Words with NY

County Attorney concerned that New York’s ‘soft-on-crime’ DA might release suspect

By Steve Kirwan, February 26, 2024 5:00 am

In a loud shot fired across Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s bow, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, a Republican, is refusing to extradite accused murderer Raad Almansoori. The 26-year-old is suspected in a string of assaults and now murder spanning multiple states, including Arizona, Florida, and New York. Citing Arizona statute dictating that Almansoori remains in Arizona to face charges that he stabbed two women in separate incidents in Arizona, she also addressed Bragg’s reputation as a soft-on-crime DA.

At a press conference on February 21, 2024, Mitchell stated, “Having observed the treatment of violent criminals in the New York area by the Manhattan DA there, Alvin Bragg, I think it is safer to keep him here and keep him in custody.”

On February 22, 2024, Bragg, a Democrat, responded, stating in a press conference, “It is deeply disturbing to me that a member of my profession, a member of law enforcement, would choose to play political games in a murder case.”

But Mitchell stated that the decision is about public safety, not politics. Her concerns may be warranted given Bragg’s recent release of criminal suspects in several high-profile cases. Bragg released five Venezuelan migrants who were arrested in New York on January 31, 2024, for assaulting two police officers. Bragg subsequently released them without bail and immediately skipped town. Then, on Friday, February 23, 2024, GA police arrested Jose Antonio Ibarra for the murder of a Georgia medical student, Lakin Riley. He had previously been arrested in New York for child endangerment but was subsequently released due to a failure to file a detainer. Given Ibarra’s record, New York’s failure may have some culpability in Riley’s death.

In Almansoori’s New York case, he has allegedly confessed to the murder, just as he confessed to the stabbing assaults in Arizona. Bragg sees an easy conviction, but Mitchell is concerned that Almansoori could be released and skip out on her cases. She argues that once he is convicted in Arizona, jail time would be mandatory in the New York case, ensuring some semblance of justice. Ultimately, it will come down to a decision by the respective states’ Governors. Extradition is a mutual agreement between the states. It’s rare that a county prosecutor would refuse an extradition request, which could prove disastrous for future cases.

It’s unclear whether Arizona Governor Hobbs will capitulate. Although both governors are Democrats, it’s unlikely that politics will play into the decision, at least not in obvious ways. However, given the current election year’s highly charged political environment, it’s hard to say how the decision will play out.

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