DEAN Faiello, a suspect arrested here last week and wanted in New York for questioning in connection with the death of a 35-year-old financial analyst there, has declined voluntarily extradition, so compulsory extradition proceedings are under way, according to sources in the Judicial Branch.
Faiello’s lawyer, Moises Vincenzi, said his client’s intention is to ensure the government goes through every necessary step before the turning him over to authorities in New York.
“He wants a due process, and he should be considered innocent until it is proven otherwise,” Vincenzi said. The lawyer mentioned ensuring the crime Faiello is being extradited for is also a crime here, a standard prerequisite for extradition.
But the charges under which Faiello’s extradition will be sought are unclear.
FAIELLO plead guilty in 2003 to practicing medicine without a license, but fled to Costa Rica in September 2003 before being sentenced.
He also is being investigated in the death of financial analyst Maria Cruz, whose body was found in a suitcase buried beneath a concrete platform at his former home in Newark, N.J. (TT, Feb. 27).
If Faiello were being extradited for homicide, the United States would have to guarantee he would not face either life in prison or the death penalty – sentences that are unconstitutional here, said Sandra Castro, spokeswoman for the Judicial Branch.
However, practicing medicine without a license is an offense here, punishable by sentences similar to those in the United States, she explained.
If the 44-year-old suspect is extradited only for that charge, it is unlikely the Costa Rican government will attempt to delay or deny his extradition even if there is a chance he would face the death penalty if convicted of charges related to Cruz’s death when he returns, Castro said.
ON Feb. 27, the case was handed over to the Judicial Branch and Faiello was given a two-month preventative prison sentence, Castro said. Faiello was transferred to San Sebastian Prison in San José, where he will likely stay no more than six months before being extradited, she said.
A two-month preventative sentence is standard in extradition cases here, since countries requesting extraditions have two months to submit documentation required by Costa Rican law, Castro said.
In Faiello’s case, Costa Rican authorities are awaiting copies of all legal proceedings and documents proving the sentence he will face in the United States.
Once an official extradition order is handed down, Faiello has the option of appealing it – a process that can take from a month and a half to three months depending on the complexity of the case, Castro said.
The other thing that could slow his extradition is a request for writ of habeas corpus, which could cause an additional delay of two to three weeks, Castro said.
THE only reason Faiello was not immediately deported for an immigration violation after he was captured at Villas Playa Sámara on the west coast of the NicoyaPeninsula last week was that the extradition request from the United States had already arrived at the Judicial Branch.
Deportation is an administrative action; extradition requests are judicial matters and take precedence, Castro explained, adding that it is not possible for U.S. officials to withdraw their extradition request in order to speed his return.
If he had been deported, flight schedules would have been the main factors affecting his departure time, Castro said.
Vincenzi said both he and Faiello’s attorney in New York advised their client to not speak to the press.
Vincenzi is one of the best-known lawyers in the country. He is also representing Father Minor Calvo, a once widely respected Catholic priest suspected of authoring the assassination of Costa Rican radio journalist Parmenio Medina in 2001 (TT, Jan. 9).