Friday, July 29, 2011

Death Penalty Showdown in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee sent a letter to U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island Peter Neronha denying the request for temporary custody of Jason Wayne Pleau, under the terms of the detainers act. Chafee did so on the basis that Pleau could face the death penalty under the federal charges, and Rhode Island has rejected the death penalty, reported the National Law Journal.

The oral argument in U.S. v. Pleau and the related In re Pleau drew a standing-room-only crowd to the Boston appellate courtroom. The defendant's counsel believes it to be the first reported case about a governor's refusal of a request from the United States for the temporary custody of a prisoner pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act.

According to the National Law Journal, the appeal centers on the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act, an agreement among certain states, the U.S. government, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which governs transfers of prisoners for unrelated trials from one state to another or from a state to the federal government or the federal government to a state.

According to his 1st Circuit brief, Pleau is serving two state court sentences, for a total of about 18 years, in a Rhode Island prison — one sentence as a parole violator and the other as a probation violator. His current release date is projected to be 2028.

In November 2010, Pleau was charged in federal court for the Sept. 20, 2010, murder and robbery of David Main in Woonsocket, R.I, as he was making a deposit at a bank, reported the National Law Journal.

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