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Court: Chafee Must Turn Pleau Over To Federal Custody

First Circuit Court of Appeals rules against Governor in state's rights contest.


The U.S First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has ruled Gov. Lincoln Chafee must turn accused murderer Jason Pleau over to federal authorities. 

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. 

This afternoon, the Governor's office released a brief statement on the decision: "I am in the process of reviewing the en banc opinion issued today. As predicted, this was a close vote. Given the divided panel, the considerable states’ rights issues involved, and the fact that a human life could be at stake, we will carefully evaluate all of our options," Chafee wrote.

US Attorney Peter F. Neronha's office also issued a brief statement: “Today’s ruling by the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirms our position from the outset, that the Governor does not have the right to bar a defendant who is properly charged by the federal government from appearing in federal court to face those charges. This office, as we have been from the outset, is prepared to move forward with the prosecution of Mr. Pleau.”

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. Main was the manager of a Shell gas station and was on his way to make a deposit from that business.

Tommy Tutone May 07, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I mean really,you gotta love the timing of this..............
la_mouffette May 07, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Dead, totally aside from what I think about the whole Pleau /Death Penalty /Justice /States Rights issue going on here... ...Are you saying you think the Governor somehow controlled the timing of when the Court made their decision? Or, was it the court that perfectly time their decision as a distraction? Or, is everyone and everything part of one wonderful, grand, paranoid scheme of distraction, in your mind? And...distraction from which issue? Based on the current, hideous state of RI, ANYthing ANY THING that occurs at ANY TIME is a potential distraction from something very important. You gotta love the timing of Mother's Day this year, right?
la_mouffette May 07, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Btw, I'm saying this with a smile, not a snarl... it's just that you've made that kind of statement so many times now ^_^ When your State is on the edge of financial free-fall, there's no good time for anything, but peripheral issues will keep on happening. They just do. It doesn't mean they are *all* perfectly timed deliberate distractions.
Tommy Tutone May 07, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Textbook manipulation,first give 'em some old fashioned flag waving coupled with some old time religion,then give 'em some blood.Not saying he doesn't deserve it,i'm saying it's perfect timing.Right out of the pages of history(Rome,Nazi Germany).It's been done before,it can be done again.All happened in Woonsocket and this guy's gonna get the death penalty,you tell me,what could be better?
Tommy Tutone May 07, 2012 at 10:37 PM
A financial freefall,no better time to distract.The Great Depression led to WW2.Question authority,your future may depend on it.I know how it sounds,but this case has been going on for ten months.....think about it.
Tommy Tutone May 08, 2012 at 12:10 AM
la_mouffette Sorry,i forgot to answer your question as to what issue the intention to distract is about.Well,they're going to pick your pocket.They're going to pick it in June for an additional 14% and then they're gonna tack that 14% on top of your 2012 tax bill for 2013.They may even tack an additional 4.5% for 2013 (all legal).Natives restless,they're forming coalitions,protesting etc. They'll be coming back for more in 2015,2016 etc.You get the picture.I smell a rat,think of it as a form of crowd control.
Russell Archambault May 08, 2012 at 12:34 AM
la_mouffette and dead. we all must agree that timing is everything. politicians time certain things, for their political agenda. we see it all the time.police time when they go to dunkin donuts. teachers strike just when school starts. I dont know what firemen do.I know that im wasting my time writing this foolish email. and i hope Pleau gets his time when they put him to death and one last thing i do know and hope that you gentelman know, that god himself has a plan to distract all of us. one more thing im glad that chaffee wasted his time to fight to save a man from getting what he deserves. to distract from the real issues in our state. please at least this one time lets thank our great federal gov. for saving at least a million dollars feeding and housing pleau
Mike Kind May 08, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Don Quixote is thinking about an appeal! He chooses such strange causes to champion. He's so far removed from our reality, he can't even see it.
la_mouffette May 08, 2012 at 05:40 AM
Thanks for the well meaning advice to "question authority" -- I have to remind myself that you don't know me, and thus, don't know how unneeded it is ^_^ Oh dear, Nazi Germany! Dead, you've already hit Reductio ad Hitlerium, and so early in the conversation. This must be a record for Godwin's Law! There's a difference between questioning authority (I don't think he's been much of a governor overall) and being simply paranoid ("he can control when the Boston 1st Circuit Court of Appeal delivers its decisions" ). It's hard for me to see how this could all have been orchestrated. Even if Chafee had planned to use all this as a distraction, he moved on this in what? July 2011? ...Back when the ugly Woonsocket supplemental tax was unthought of. The governor was baking this action when we actually believed we had a city surplus, LOL! I'm not kowtowing to authority here...I only think you're giving the governor too much credit by making him both capable of controlling the courts AND psychic. If it was meant as a distraction, it wasn't about our supplemental tax. Additionally, how will this distract us in a way HELPFUL to the governor? Many Woonsocket residents I know seem very irritated, if not angry, that Chafee is trying to save Pleau. This news story could be just as perfectly timed to remind many Woonsocket residents how much they dislike Chafee, for "wasting" time trying to save a murderer, while appearing to drag his feet on helping us financially.
la_mouffette May 08, 2012 at 05:50 AM
I'm against the death penalty on principle, even for people who completely deserve it. I'd like to see productive labour in lifelong imprisonment rather than death. But that is my conviction-- not a reflection of my emotional feelings. When I think of Mr. Main and his family, I can't blame anyone for being upset over the effort to keep Pleau from being extradited, and I imagine Chafee has forfeited a lot of votes by moving on this.
la_mouffette May 08, 2012 at 05:58 AM
oh, and "a financial freefall, no better time to distract" Indeed. But, again, things do keep on happening. If you're expecting efforts to distract, then every news story that breaks looks like evidence of a grand scheme to draw your attention away. But either way, conspiracy or no, there's only one response: We need to be able to follow and discuss the news WHILE concentrating on the ongoing important issues.
John May 08, 2012 at 11:45 AM
How much state money do you think was spent on this project to save this guy? (he won't face the death penalty anyway, he'll plead out as soon as he can) Money that could have been used elsewhere, it's disgusting that the state withhold money to cities and towns and this poor excuse of a govenor urinates it away on what was always an unjust and losing battle.
la_mouffette May 08, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Did you read all of my post, John? Or did you read the first sentence, and assumed I was 100% glad Chafee tried to do this? I'm against the death penalty on principle, but believe me, I see the full picture. You didn't mention that, if Chafee won this case, it might promote RI as the only state in the union where you can shoot someone on federally insured bank property and NOT face the death penalty. That's a bit scary.
John May 08, 2012 at 06:04 PM
La_, I wasn't directing, agreeing or disagreeing with you in any way, I respect your opinion. The "you" was generalized at anyone reading, I was questioning how much money of "ours" in this supposedly cash strapped state did the gov. think was ok to spend a this "bad person" (due to censorship) while there are so many trickle down affects in cities and towns due to the state withholding money that rightfully should have been distributed to them. I say......... fry him btw.
Russell Archambault May 08, 2012 at 07:29 PM
gentelman; good debate,interesting views, I sometimes watch lockup on friday nights. It is beyond my thoughts how well these prisoners are treated. They are allowed to play cards, hang around, shoot there mouths off all day and all night.actually do nothing but use the system.I could go on and on.Here is my point. Nomatter what view on hard working people,like teachers,police ,firemen, city,state workers, who we all attack for whatever reason for pensions, not working enough,paid too much,and so forth. Nobody ever attacks prisoners for doing nothing all day long, free food, free housing, free water, free heat, free electric, free tv. free library,dont even need a library card.and best of all free medical coverage.oh yea and free lawyers. I dont want to minimize the hard ache, or the hard ship, and the loneliness they must feel and the sorrow they must feel (getting caught). I feel that we are criticizing our great governor, trying his best to protect one of his citizens. You are all jealous!!!
Bill Santagata May 09, 2012 at 09:42 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with Footnote 18 of the dissent, which reads: "We 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." What is most puzzling to me is why the federal government is so intent on prosecuting him under federal law in the first place?
Tommy Tutone May 09, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Enjoy the entertainment provided by The Powers that Be,meanwhile,prepare to dig deep.


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