Vanderbilt Law Review

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In 1970, Congress enacted into law the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act, making the United States and the District of Columbia parties to the interstate compact already adopted by 37 states.' The purpose of the Agreement is to "encourage the expeditious and orderly disposition" of charges underlying detainers by providing procedures by which prisoners may request disposition of such charges and prosecuting jurisdictions may obtain the presence of prisoners for trial. Recently problems of interpretation have surfaced as the federal courts have endeavored to define the role of the United States under the Agreement. The courts of appeals presently disagree on the issue whether the Agreement applies to transfers of prisoners pursuant to the federal writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum. One view applies the Agreement broadly as the exclusive means of transfer among member states.' Other courts, holding that the federal writ, unlike a detainer, does not adversely affect the prisoner's rehabilitation, have refused to require compliance with the Agreement when the federal writ is used The issue currently is before the Supreme Court.' After examining the background of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers and its interpretation by state courts, this Note will evaluate the various federal interpretations and propose a solution that is harmonious with present congressional intent and that accommodates the needs of both prisoners and prosecutors.