FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAG
THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 2001(202) 514-2007
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
STATEMENT BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
ON JAMES CHARLES KOPP EXTRADITION
"On March 29, James Charles Kopp was arrested in France on federal and state charges in connection with the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian in 1998. Those charges include using deadly force to prevent Dr. Slepian from providing legally available health services and murder.
"Kopp committed a heinous crime that deserves severe punishment. We need to send a strong message that no matter what our differences are, violence is not the solution. The FACE laws were created to ensure that violence against individuals providing legally available health services is not tolerated and will carry a stiff penalty, and I intend to enforce those laws.
"Shortly after the arrest, the French government, pursuant to its law and practice, asked the United States to assure it that the death penalty will not be imposed or carried out. Nevertheless, I have been working to ensure the United States' ability to pursue strong punishment for this terrible crime. I wanted to make sure that our nation would not be constrained by limits placed on Kopp's extradition by France, preventing us from seeking punishment outlined by our laws and our Constitution, such as the death penalty.
"Unfortunately, in order to ensure that Kopp is not released from custody and is brought to justice in America, we have had to agree not to seek the death penalty.
"I share the sentiments of Dr. Slepian's widow, Lynne Slepian, that if the choice is between extraditing Kopp to face these serious charges in a United States court or risking his release by France, the priority must be Kopp's return."