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Court Recognizes Chafee's Right to Refuse Transfer of Pleau

1st Circuit Court agrees that Gov. Lincoln Chafee's does not have to hand Woonsocket murder suspect over to the federal government.

U.S. District Court judges agreed that Gov. Lincoln Chafee has the right to refuse the transfer of murder suspect Jason Pleau to the federal government in a case labeled "unprecedented" in today's decision.

Pleau, 33, was one of three suspects y of David Main, a Lincoln man and employee of Shell gas station, who was shot to death while attempting to make a deposit at Citizens Bank on Diamond Hill Road in Sept. of 2010.

In a case that state versus federal jurisdiction, Chafee of the prisoner in June, arguing that it would expose Pleau to the capital punishment, which is not allowed under Rhode Island state law.

"A transfer of Mr. Pleau to temporary federal custody would potentially expose him to the death penalty, a penalty consciously rejected by the State of Rhode Island, even for those guilty of the most heinous crimes," the governor explained.

The decision was based in part on the terms of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD,) through which the federal government requested the transfer. According to the ruling, states are allowed to refuse the transfer of prisoners to the federal government under IAD terms, but no state has ever done so.

Claire Richards, chief legal officer for the governor, explained: "The agreement treats the federal government as yet another state and clearly states that the governor has the right to say no, but they didn't like that."

"He was already going to plead guilty to life in prison without parole," Richards added, "so presumably the only reason to move him was the death penalty."

Judges in the 1st Circuit, a federal court trumped only by the U.S. Supreme Court, agreed.

"Pleau had, at this point, already indicated his agreement to plead guilty to the state charges and accept a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Therefore, the only additional punishment that a federal conviction might bring would appear to be authorization to kill Pleau. The present case thus presents a stark conflict between federal and state policy prerogatives on a matter of literally life-and-death significance," the decision states.

In a statement released tonight on the matter, Chafee emphasized his sympathy for the victim's family, but reiterated the fact that Rhode Island has long rejected capital punishment.  

"There is no question that Jason Wayne Pleau is a career criminal who deserves to be punished for his crimes. But as I have previously stated, my involvement in this case is not about Mr. Pleau as an individual, nor is it about the terrible ordeal of the Main family. And it is not about my personal feelings or opinions," Chafee said. "It is about maintaining and protecting the sovereignty and laws of the state I was elected to govern, and I am encouraged that the 1st Circuit has recognized that important role."

The federal government could request a petition for rehearing or elect to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Cases involving capital punishment are inevitably long, drawn-out processes with many rulings and many appeals," Chafee said. "While I am grateful for the 1st Circuit’s decision, I know that this may not be the last step."

Ann Fuscellaro October 14, 2011 at 07:45 AM
This Governor is, by far, THE WORST EVER....... He must get out of office now !!!!! All I know is he is trying to protect a confessed murderer.... what the hell is wrong with him....I think he is just trying to win a point..... CHAFEE GET OUT OF OFFICE !!!!!!
Ann Fuscellaro October 14, 2011 at 07:59 AM
Lil T - I agree with you 100%..... you have every right to make a comment, and this guy David is VERY RUDE INDEED. He wants the good folks of R.I. to support ILLEGALS... Does he not know the meaning of ILLEGAL..... Then he wants to give them a drivers license.....OMG.. Half of them cannot even read or write ENGLISH..... He wants to do everything opposite than what the people of R.I. want..... He is by far the worst Governor we ever had.....
Ann Fuscellaro October 14, 2011 at 08:06 AM
D.B..... Don't call our postings knee-jerk and ignorant......you are ignorant.... and this Pleau guy IS NOT DESERVING OF ANYTHING........ HE IS A MURDERER..... and I would not call Chaffee courageous...... OMG .. i hope the people who elected this clown is happy with the way he is ruining our state.... I know I didn't vote for him..
STEPHEN WEBER October 14, 2011 at 08:11 AM
@ David I don't know you but I think you should see a doctor .. Maybe you are suicidal or maybe you have some mental problems ... You have no right to tell ANYONE to shut up.. If you are under a doctors care you need to take the the psychiatric meds they prescribed for you ... They'll stop some of this crazy thinking and ideas help you relax.. Any law abiding citizen that approves of our crazy governor needs Psychiatric Help!!!
john baldelli October 14, 2011 at 08:46 AM
very well said sir
Jim Bobb October 14, 2011 at 09:53 AM
WOW...where do you purchase those 'rose' colored Chaffee glasses?? His actions speak volumes...he is out of touch with the people of RI - probably most of the people on this planet! Let's remove him from office immediately, he is wasting our time and money!!!
CB11 October 14, 2011 at 12:03 PM
Nice....murderers and illegals can "TRUST CHAFEE" - the rest of us can go to Hell! Can we talk RECALL yet?
Emile Belisle October 14, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Curious, is there anyone here that’s posted negative comments that actually voted for the governor?
CB11 October 14, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Not me!
STEPHEN WEBER October 14, 2011 at 01:34 PM
I voted for John Robitaille
CB11 October 14, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Same here -
Steve October 14, 2011 at 06:20 PM
Our vision on handing him over to the Feds. seems pretty clear on this topic: Nov. 18: U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announces that Pleau and Santiago have been charged with Hobbs Act conspiracy to commit robbery affecting commerce; Hobbs Act robbery affecting commerce; and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, death resulting. Under the Hobbs Act, conspiracy and robbery charges can carry sentences of life imprisonment or death if a firearm was used in a crime resulting in a death. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office says that it is too early to know whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty in the case. Enough said.......
Jim Bobb October 14, 2011 at 09:31 PM
i seem to remember the teachers union pulling for Chaffee...interested to see what they now think of this 'gem'!
WoonSuks October 15, 2011 at 02:33 AM
Am not one of the FOOLS that voted for him and I live and vote and pay taxes in this state this guy is an Idiot
David Bouchard October 15, 2011 at 03:11 AM
Good Grief, the Patch has been busy today. Alright, I’ll admit to being a bit rude in telling Lil T to shut up; I should have been kinder, but I believe my intention was correct. If you are not a Rhode Islander, or if you are a Rhode Islander who does not vote then you don’t have a horse in this race concerning this Governor, and your opinions on this subject are not worth much to anyone who does vote here. I think you would fall more into the category of ‘rabble rouser’; and better off ignored. From all the different comments that I just read I would believe that hardly anyone read the whole article; never digested what was written – that’s the reason I called the postings “knee-jerk and ignorant”. There were so many nasty comments directed at the Governor, and then at me for having a favorable opinion of him that I would like to address a few. First, Lil T, as I said – no horse in this race; better off ignoring you and your opinions. (have to split my post)
David Bouchard October 15, 2011 at 03:12 AM
. But I would like to say something to Yvette; I’m sure you are a very nice lady, I’ve read other of your posts concerning this city and the people within it and I’ve agreed many times with you. But, when the Governor is brought up, or worse yet the President, you get nasty – more than rude, downright nasty. Why is that? I believe that you are too closely associated with the teabaggers – their rhetoric tends to stifle rational, independent thought. Also, can you fill me in on something that I may have missed? In your posting you said that “this man was shot on Federal grounds…”; I thought he was shot on private property – in either event, I don’t think it has any bearing on the situation. Please re-read the article and try to understand Mr. Chaffee’s position; he lays it out clearly in the narrative, then re-read your earlier post to me. You might feel differently. Ann F, Jim Bobb, Cheryl, you guys can’t even stay on topic, your hate for Mr. Chaffee impedes you from making an intelligent comment regarding the Pleau case and the ruling of the 1st Circuit Court; no sense addressing anything you had to say.
David Bouchard October 15, 2011 at 03:12 AM
As for Steve Weber; typically, he is all insult and bile. Mr. Weber is representative of so many of the people who relentlessly post on these sites or who dominate the radio and TV airwaves; they are the Bully, Bigot, and Butthead (B/B/B) crowd. They cannot discuss and issue, but the feel the need to abuse people who would like to discuss issues through the use of derision, name calling, slander, threats, and more – from the most right-wing big-city radio desk-jockey to the local radio nitwit-with-a-microphone the methodology is the same; shut up the opposition by any means.
David Bouchard October 15, 2011 at 03:13 AM
I would like to congratulate Mr. Chaffee for winning his case – and I believe he was right in pursuing it. For the B/B/B crowd remember that, in my first post, I said I was a proponent of the death penalty – if you don’t have your dictionary handy the word “proponent” means that I am ‘for’/’in favor of’/a ‘supporter of’ the death penalty. If Mr. Pleau were tried in a RI court, found guilty (as we know he is) and strung up in a public place I wouldn’t flinch; however, in RI there is no death penalty, and there is not death penalty because the citizenry has declared that it should be so. Ok, so be it. If you don’t like that then change it by running a campaign to reinstate executions – I’m with you! But don’t excoriate the Governor because he is upholding RI law and the intent of the RI citizenry. And now, just to tick off the B/B/B crowd, let me say that I think Governor Chaffee is a good man, a courageous man, and a man of integrity. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Yvette M Ayotte October 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM
David Bouchard, it's simple. EVERYONE is entitiled to their opinions without someone telling them to, "SHUT UP". This is a public forum for anyone from anywhere to voice their opinions. You're right about me not liking this governor, he's not FOR THE PEOPLE of RI, what does he care if our taxes go up, he's a millionaire, etc. I campaigned and voted for Obama but feel I've made a mistake there and I'm kicking myself for doing it but I will admit when I'm wrong. As for the Tea Party, I will rally with them if I feel the cause is for us, the taxpayer!! Once again, I feel everyone is entitled to their opinions whether I like what they have to say or not. I may be wrong here again, but the bank is a federal matter under federal jurisdiction.
David Bouchard October 15, 2011 at 11:02 AM
Ok, Yvette, I'll refrain from telling anyone to shut up, but you have to agree with me that many people's comments are of no added value; their posts are merely derogatory, cynical, nonsense. And they get others going down the same road with them and any true conversation is lost. I've been guilty of it, I know. I think you are wrong about the Governor, but I doubt I could change your mind at this point. Also, it would be interesting to talk to you about Obama and a few other issues. Heading to work, now.
Emile Belisle October 15, 2011 at 02:03 PM
Looks to me like David Bouchard is wasting his time thinking there could be dialog between apposing views, at least not here, on line in Woonsocket. Yvette Ayotte seems to me to be the only one commenting on this article that is willing to debate. I wasn’t willing to comment when I read all the nasty things being said about our Governor. I thought, what’s the use as soon as anyone jumps in contradicting the majority the lynch mob will have a feast and I was right! Understand this, there are many in this town that believes as we do but have no voice here or in the media. Not all, but many that voted for the Governor are less fortunate not having a computer or internet access but can and will walk to the voting booth. The morning after Gov. Chafee won the election the apposing side was stunned and the nasty, hateful comments began and it’s been non stop on am radio and local news papers ever since. Unlike David Bouchard I do not believe in the death penalty for any reason. “We don’t believe in killing someone so if you do we will kill you”, sounds like an oxymoron to me. I’m pleased with the Governors decision and totally understand his actions on this case. My heart also goes out to the family this man murdered but his death will not bring their loved one back. In the future, you could save yourself some time, put all your nasty comments together, sign your names to it to add for the next article about the governor, I’m sure there will be many.
Jim Bobb October 15, 2011 at 06:25 PM
did you listen to the interview on WNRI? The man was clueless and out of touch with northern RI...not sure how anyone who heard his interview could vote for him...and he's continued to live up to and surpass the fears most of us had when he was elected...not much to debate.
Emile Belisle October 15, 2011 at 07:29 PM
Ok, through your own admission you say, there is not much to debate. Thus giving reason why no mater what, anyone expressing an apposing view is ridiculed. If the Governor was so out of touch with northern RI he never would have been elected in the first place. If you scroll down read the full article and then everyone’s comments you will see most of them sound like “sour grapes”, as though no matter what was written it didn’t matter, your mind was made up! Now what did you say to Dave Bouchard about rose colored glasses?
Jim Bobb October 15, 2011 at 07:40 PM
I say that it is my opinion...you're accusing the comments that appear here to be in poor taste, and claim that they are all a case of 'sour grapes'. I say that they are our opinions. I formed an opinion - as i'm sure many did - when i heard the interview. Everything he has done since has only affirmed my initial thoughts. It appears you just like to demean others when they do not agree with you...we all have a right to our opinion. Good Day to you sir...
Steve October 15, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Emile, Chaffee was elected with the lowest percentage of popular ever recorded in state elections. Roughly 38%. If you voted for him, you ARE the minority! If you want to talk facts of the Pleau case, you seem to be ignoring the fact that he was being brought up on Federal charges. Here's a reference for you to look at again in case you have a short memory: Nov. 18: U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announces that Pleau and Santiago have been charged with Hobbs Act conspiracy to commit robbery affecting commerce; Hobbs Act robbery affecting commerce; and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, death resulting. Under the Hobbs Act, conspiracy and robbery charges can carry sentences of life imprisonment or death if a firearm was used in a crime resulting in a death. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office says that it is too early to know whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty in the case. For any elected official to stand in the way of a Federal Prosecution case to me is mind boggling to say the least especially to protect a common animal who murdered, and virtually excecuted a store manager just to reap the benifits of a couple of thousand dollars in cash! You my "Liberal" friend are on the short end of this stick, on the short end of the popular majority on this case, and have no moral or plain common sense in this matter.
Steve October 15, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Oh by the way Dave B., it's called the "Tea Party" movement, not the Teabaggers as you referenced in one of your earlier posts. If you want to go there, maybe the term "Libtards" comes to mind right?
RonW October 15, 2011 at 08:17 PM
In any other state there would of been a run off election. Getting 36% percent of the vote is not winning.
Emile Belisle October 15, 2011 at 08:37 PM
Steve: Unlike Mr. Bouchard I didn’t revert to name calling. Your first reply to me revels your true colors. Go ahead and talk your nonsense to each other, without us you’re only preaching to the chorus. You will hear from me no more on this article.
Steve October 15, 2011 at 08:58 PM
Thank you sir, when presented with facts, liberals like you typically run for the hills. Nice to know you didn't dissapoint..... And oh, what does this mean " the lynch mob"?? You don't revert to name calling? You sir are a fraud!
Erin B. October 16, 2011 at 02:06 PM
I agree with the sentiment that the governor has the right (and is fairly obligated, mind you) to challenge the Federal claim to Pleau. Do *I* like the ruling? No. In this case, I see the death penalty as a viable and proper punishment for a terrible crime if he's found guilty. However, Chafee is representing the stated opinion of Rhode Island in making this challenge. RI has, by vote, determined that capital punishment is not what we want here. If anyone thinks that (or anything) should change, start a petition. Run for office. Vote. That's what the system is for. As it stands, I begrudgingly recognize Chafee's right to present the challenge to the court even though I would have liked to see Pleau tried on the Federal level. I believe a lot of the ire here comes from Chafee's recent run-ins regarding State vs. Federal rights with compassion centers and illegal immigration. He's all over the place I feel like he's putting his foot down in all the wrong places. I can't wait for the next election

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