By Stacy Jacobsonsjacobson@abcnews4.com
QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA (WCIV) - A mother charged with kidnapping her daughter from her Lowcountry homenearly 20 years ago has agreed to be extradited back to the United States.
Dorothy Lee Barnettwent before a judge in Australia about 10 p.m. EDT and consented to theextradition order.
However, sheis still several steps away from actually stepping foot on U.S. soil.
Now that Barnett has consented to the order, theJustice Minister will then need to decide whether or not she should besurrendered to the United States. During this process, the Minister will acceptsubmissions from her lawyer on reasons why she should not be surrendered andremain in Australia.
It could take some time before the Minister announceshis decision - as it can be a lengthy process, said the media advisor for theJustice Minister.
Her attorney could argue that she not be surrendered,given the length of time that has lapsed since the abduction, which he isexpected to do, according to ABC News journalist Jo Skinner.
Skinner said Barnett's consent means she moves intothe fourth phase of Australian extradition.
According to court documents explaining the process, "ifthe person consents to extradition, the Attorney-General or the Ministerdecides whether to surrender the person as soon as is reasonably practicable."
In deciding whether to extradite a person who has beenfound eligible for extradition, the Attorney-General or the Minister considers:
- whether there are any extraditionobjections
- whether there are substantial groundsfor believing that the person would be in danger of being subjected to tortureon surrender to the foreign country
- whether the offence is punishable bya penalty of death
- whether the foreign country concernedhas given a speciality assurance in relation to the person
- treaty requirements, and
- any other issue.
If theJustice Minister decides to extradite Barnett, she will enter the fifth andfinal phase of the process. But American authorities will have two months toremove her from the country - if they don't, she will be able to petition thecourt for her release.
Theextradition hearing was delayed twice before Thursday.
Barnettkidnapped her 10-month-old daughter Savanna in 1994, authorities said. At thetime, her father Harris Todd had full custody of the baby.
U.S.authorities have charged Barnett with child abduction and passport fraudcharges. Barnett was arrested in November 2013, despite being located two yearsprior.
"Idon't care if I ever see her ever again. But, I have no animosity for her.She's my daughter's mother and that's what she is and that's what she'll alwaysbe," Todd said regarding his ex-wife.
Toddexpressed his frustration with the international legal system.
"Idon't understand the international aspect of this. The fact that the wheelturned so slowly was stunning to me. I suppose I dropped back into my naivestate, now that I know where she is. I just didn't have any expectation that itwould take so long or that so many wrenches would be thrown into themachinery," Harris Todd said.
Todd has onlyhad sporadic communication via email with his daughter since she was found, hesaid.