VIDEO: Chafee Responds To Appeal To Stop 'Obstructing Justice' in Pleau Case

Sister of David Main says legal fight is preventing proper prosecution.


This morning, Gov. Lincoln Chafee responded to Deborah Smith, sister to David Main, who says he's preventing just prosecution of Jason Pleau, accused of killing her brother in a 2010 robbery.

Pleau, 34, was one of three suspects and robbery of David Main, which took place at Citizens Bank on Diamond Hill Road in Woonsocket in September of 2010.

WPRI.com reports that Smith sent a letter to Chafee May 8 asking him to stop "obstructing justice" by fighting for custody over Pleau.

Pleau, who has been the subject of a custody struggle between federal authorities and Chafee, could face the death penalty in federal court. In state court, Pleau would face a maximum sentence of life in prison. The governor has refused to turn Pleau over to federal authorities for the last 10 months, invoking Rhode Island's long-standing objection to the death penalty and the state's sovereignty.

Chafee has announced he intends to appeal a First Circuit Court of Appeals decision telling him to turn Pleau over to federal custody.

This morning, when asked about Smith's letter, Chafee said highly emotional cases like this one are difficult to navigate. "That's when you test your convictions," Chafee said.

Chafee also apologized for the pain the legal battle is causing the family. "I regret that each time this case appears in the news it causes further pain for the Main family. I extend once again my most sincere condolences to them for their terrible loss, which resulted from such a senseless crime," Chafee wrote in a release.

Bill Santagata May 10, 2012 at 05:24 PM
18We further digress to interject that the crimes Pleau is alleged to have committed -- armed robbery and murder of a private citizen on the way to making a deposit in the bank -- are quintessential state crimes, and betray on their face no hint of any uniquely federal interest. See United States v. Jiménez-Torres, 435 F.3d 3, 13-15 (1st Cir. 2006) (Torruella, J., concurring) (objecting to the unwarranted extension of federal criminal jurisdiction over traditionally state crimes). In the present case, extending federal jurisdiction over a crime with at most, de minimis impact on interstate commerce, is stretching that concept beyond the bounds of Congress's constitutional power. Cf. United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995). Moreover, given that Pleau has already agreed to plead guilty to state crimes and to a life sentence without possibility of parole, it is frankly unclear what it is that the federal government hopes to gain by its overkill. This is particularly manifest in light of the truly extraordinary costs that will have to be invested by the federal government if it continues to pursue this capital litigation, something that in these times of economic restraint seems unduly wasteful of limited resources.
Bill Santagata May 10, 2012 at 05:25 PM
The federal government is wasting your tax dollars trying to try someone for the same crime that he already confessed to (and will serve life in prison with no parole for) simply so they can kill him. It is the FEDERAL government, not the state, that is needlessly extending this matter, injecting itself into a criminal trial that really touches on no legitimate federal interest.
Lori May 11, 2012 at 10:25 AM
The state is wasting our tax money, let the federal government have him, even the family of the victim wants them to take him!!! Oh well if it's the death penalty, look at what he did!!!
Bill Santagata May 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM
The state isn't wasting any taxpayer money. It is the federal government that is pursuing this capital litigation on a crime the defendant already pleaded guilty to in state court and will be serving life in prison with no parole. Capital litigation is incredibly expensive to pursue. Blame the feds on this one.
Mew May 11, 2012 at 09:41 PM
im just hoping that when it's time to vote for a new governor, that people remembs this governor goofy!! what a hidious person he has turned out to be!! he was was a laughing stock in washington and that in r.i.


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