Chafee To Appeal Court Order To Turn Over Pleau

Chafee says he's confident in next stage of legal contest.


Governor Lincoln Chafee has decided he'll appeal the U.S First Circuit Court of Appeals ruling telling him he must turn over accused murderer Jason Pleau to federal custody.

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.

In a release sent out at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Chafee wrote: "After reviewing the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals en banc opinion, and weighing the state’s considerable interests, I have decided to appeal the 1st Circuit’s decision. Given the close vote of the full court, which demonstrates a genuine split in the interpretation of the law, the State of Rhode Island must seek to protect both the strong states’ rights issues at stake and the legitimacy of its longstanding public policy against the death penalty."

Chafee stated his in-house legal staff is handling the case as part of their regular duties, so there will be no extra cost to taxpayers.

The state has a good case, Chafee said, because the National Governors Association, representing the governors of all 50 states, the Federal Public Defender’s Office, and the American Civil Liberties Union all stood with Rhode Island in the appeal before the 1st Circuit.

"Their support is indicative of the state’s strong position," Chafee wrote.

Pleau is charged with murdering David Main, 49, who was robbed and fatally shot on his way into a Citizen’s Bank branch on Diamond Hill Road, in September 2010.

Doctor May 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM
A person is elected by the people to represent the views and will of the people. A person is not elected for self, personal reasons. Our Governor need a lesson in ethics and what governance is.
English first May 10, 2012 at 12:35 PM
I feel so sorry for the family of David Main. In three months it will be the 2nd anniversary of this vicious murder. The governor is dragging out the family's misery.
Tommy Tutone May 10, 2012 at 12:51 PM
More mindless propaganda being fed to the masses before they rob you blind,they're so good at it they'll have you flying the RI state flag and Old Glory over your homeless tent.
Boston Blackie May 10, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Howdy Doody at it again. Right down to the wooden head! This governor Is as dysfunctional as it gets! He is a moron and truly unlikeable. This isn't about right and wrong . It is more about his crackpot views and his refusal to heed the will of the majority.Enjoy your brief stay at the State House Governor. It will be your last.
Icesno May 10, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Hopefully the Supreme Court will turn over both Pleau and Governor Moonbeam to the Feds. Both are whack jobs.
Brendalee Hartland McGovern May 10, 2012 at 04:39 PM
At what cost ? Is this in hopes that those whom oppose the death penalty will vote for Chaffee again? What about the victim, his rights and his family's right for a speedy trial? Just give Pleau over to the feds...
Bill Santagata May 10, 2012 at 04:53 PM
The people who are criticizing the Governor of this are simply ignorant of what is going on. I'm not picking a side on whether or not the 1st Circuit's en banc opinion was correct or not. It deals with two very particular laws (the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act and the Judiciary Act of 1793) and how they interact. The vote was close, 3-2, and both sides believe that the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Mauro compels the decision in their favor, and they accuse the other side of grossly misinterpreting it. That a Circuit Court can come to such a close vote using opposite interpretations of the *same* Supreme Court decision shows that there is some confusion that must be cleared up definitively. Pleau has already pleaded guilty to the state crimes of murder and will serve a LIFETIME SENTENCE WITHOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE under state law. I agree wholeheartedly with Footnote 18 of the dissenting opinion, which reads:
Bill Santagata May 10, 2012 at 04:54 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 04:54 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.
Bill Santagata May 10, 2012 at 05:03 PM
This is more than just about Pleau. He has already pleaded guilty to state crimes including murder and will be serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. There is great confusion about whether or not the federal government, once having invoked the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) Act to transfer a prisoner from state to federal custody, and once the governor of the sending state has refused such a request (which is his express and undisputed right under the IAD), then precludes the federal government from issuing a writ of habeas corpus habeas corpus ad prosequendum under the Judiciary Act of 1793. This is a greater states' rights matter that needs to be cleared up definitively.
MAE May 10, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Unfortunately, he was elected by a majority...therefore, the majority of the voters are in his self-centered corner...or...just plain idiots! I am going for the latter.
Bill Santagata May 10, 2012 at 07:30 PM
MAE: He wasn't actually elected by a majority. He only received 36% of the vote. He had more votes than any other candidate (there were 4 of them though!)...meaning a vast majority of Rhode Islanders wanted someone else to be governor. If a candidate doesn't receive more than 50% of the vote, there should be a run-off election between the top two vote-getters.
MAE May 10, 2012 at 07:33 PM
well, Bill, I wish the other 3 candidates had gotten more votes, hell, I tried.
Russell Archambault May 10, 2012 at 08:38 PM
DOCTOR;the govenor has been elected to serve rhode island people.we may disagree on his opinion on this matter. At no time has he asked the opinion of the people concerning this matter. Therefore he is following rhode state law as his legal council may be instructing. This is not about pleau anymore,its about state and federaL.Again we are all puppets for the law dogs.Laws are laws and the people law dogs are going to argue there point,of course when they are making money,no matter who pays.Bill Santagata,has taken the time to give us a little of whats going on,thanks bill. i would rather see pleau serve time in state prison (its alot worse than federal) unless the feds kill him.money money money either way.One good thing there will no layoffs for the attorneys.Whos laughing last.
Mike Kind May 10, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Again I say, Don Quixote is destined to fight windmills. The difference is , he didn't do it with taxpayers' money.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something