Legal expert explains possible next steps in Shanquella Robinson case

CHARLOTTE — Shanquella Robinson was killed in Mexico nearly one month ago while on a trip with friends to Mexico, and social media has fueled calls for justice and suspicion.

“People need to understand that this is not going to be a quick process,” said Yolanda Trotman, a criminal defense attorney and former Mecklenburg County judge. “The extradition process takes some time. There’s going to have to be a level of patience, I think, with people that want justice quickly and justice may not look like we’re used to.”

Trotman has been keeping up with Robinson’s mysterious case.

Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant for an American, presumably on U.S. soil, and will be mandated by the U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty of 1861.

“It goes Department of State. Goes through that process. Let’s say it gets certified,” Trotman said. “Then it has to be transmitted to the U.S. attorney in the district where that person, that fugitive may be.”


Those hurdles are an example of the overall jurisdictional and investigative issues Trotman sees by having an American victim, a killing in Mexico and potential witnesses and suspects in the wind.

“We have a common law system,” Trotman said. “Theirs is based on Napoleonic code system, which is very different. But there is a presumption ultimately of guilt versus that of innocence that we are accustomed to here in the U.S.”

VIDEO: Shanquella Robinson death investigation ongoing

She said that since the FBI Charlotte branch is looking into Robinson’s death, it could help speed up the process.

Trotman said the FBI can investigate what Robinson and her friends did before they left the U.S. and when they returned.

“That’s where you have possible accessory after the fact charges,” Trotman said. “If there were things done to conceal the crime, hide a person, lying to the police, obstruction. Text messages were exchanged clearly. There are Google searches out there.”

What’s next for the subject of that arrest warrant if they are, in fact, extradited back to Mexico?

Trotman said that there is no pretrial release there like in the states.

Mexico only has mandatory pretrial detention, and it’s written into their constitution.

Mexican prisons have been criticized for horrific human rights violations and being grossly overcrowded.

VIDEO: Arrest warrant issued for friend of Shanquella Robinson, Mexican prosecutor says

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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