This week Gov. Lincoln Chafee made good on his pledge to appeal a May court decision forcing the state to turn over accused murderer Jason Pleau to federal authorities to the US Supreme Court, using the volunteered services of a Washington DC lawyer.
Since the May ruling, Pleau has remained in federal custody under the keep of the US Marshal Service in Providence, said Jim Martin, public information officer for US Attorney Peter F. Neronha.
Pleau has been the subject of a struggle between federal authorities and Chafee for nearly a year because he could face the death penalty in federal court. He is charged with the murder of David Main during a night deposit robbery at Citizen's Bank in 2010.
On Tuesday, Chafee's office announced a petition for writ of certiorari (see attached .pdf) was filed with the Supreme Court, seeking review of the decision, which, according to the Governor's office, "held that the federal government did not need to abide by the terms of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD), an interstate compact and federal law. The IAD, to which 48 states and the federal government are parties, authorizes any state or federal party to deny a request to transfer a prisoner to another party."
"This is a significant states’ rights matter," Chafee wrote, "The parties to this important interstate compact rely on the even-handed and fair administration of the detainer system to reliably move prisoners from one state to another. If the uniform rules of this agreement are applicable only to the states and can be disregarded by the federal government, it is in the best interest of all states to know that is the case immediately. That is the primary reason why the State of Rhode Island is pursuing this case before the Supreme Court."
Patricia Millett, a partner with the firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington DC, the head of its Supreme Court litigation group, is handling this case on the state’s behalf pro bono, — at no cost to Rhode Island, Chafee said.