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December 21, 2011

First Circuit to review en banc RI Governor's refusal to let feds have murderer for capital prosecution

A helpful reader altered me to this news report that the "full 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider whether Governor Chafee has the right to refuse to surrender an accused murderer to federal authorities." Here is more:

The majority of the Boston-based appeals court on Wednesday voted to consider the case of Jason Wayne Pleau, the career criminal who authorities say shot and killed a gas station manager about to make a deposit at a Woonsocket bank in September 2010. The hearing is April 4.

A three-judge appeals panel in a split decision in October upheld Chafee's authority to refuse to turn over Pleau to face federal prosecution.  The governor has based his refusal on what he calls the state's longstanding opposition to the death penalty.  Pleau, the alleged shooter, could face the death penalty under federal law.

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December 21, 2011 at 01:27 PM | Permalink


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cute! i'd laugh my head off if the state governor ordered their asses arrested for sticking their noises into his orders!

last time i looked this guy

was convicted of a STATE crime!
he's seving his time in a STATE prison!

they DON'T have a thing to say about it!

Now ONCE he finishes his STATE sentence...they would be welcome to him!

till then it's the governor's LEGAL right to keep him! since they MADE their case first!
they also got thier CONVICITON first!
they got their SENTENCE FIRST!

Posted by: rodsmith | Dec 22, 2011 1:07:38 AM

Rod Smith:

I differ with you because Pleau’s state sentence is *not the Governor’s declared reason* for refusing to allow federal prosecution. Chafee has stated that though the murder was committed at a bank which falls under federal jurisdiction as well--a cosmically recognized concept--he will not allow the killer to face federal adjudication lest Pleau receive ->capital punishment<-.

Perhaps a lesson in democratic humility and federalism is wonting on the Governor’s part, delivered by the tongue of FDR:

"That was asked me for four years while I was Governor of the State of New York… My own personal belief is that I would like to see capital punishment abolished throughout this country, but, on the other hand, every law enforcement officer with whom I have ever spoken…believes that capital punishment is a definite and distinct deterrent of murder.

It is, primarily, a *legislative matter*. I am in the unfortunate position here, as I was in Albany, of *having to pass* on the question of the death penalty."

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu; Cf: 18 U.S.C. §1951, 18 U.S.C. §924.

Posted by: adamakis | Dec 22, 2011 10:49:45 PM

that's true adamakis...but the devil as they say is in the details....and in this case. it is the governor's OPTION to allow the feds to take custody before he finishes his state ordered sentence! from what i've read on that there is NO requirement that he even give a reason why he says NO.

Posted by: rodsmith | Dec 23, 2011 8:35:43 PM

You may be right that the governor is wielding his prerogative, but do you not find his move autocratic?
Chafee’s stated motive is to shield the convict Pleau from a potential death penalty.

As Kent Scheidegger blogged “Rhode Island does not get to veto the United States's choice of punishment for federal offenses that happen to occur within the boundaries of Rhode Island.”

Do you share Scheidegger’s conclusion:
“So the argument involves technical questions on the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act”?

Posted by: adamakis | Dec 24, 2011 12:03:16 AM

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