The fight for Jason Wayne Pleau isn’t fading away anytime soon. On Friday, Governor Lincoln Chafee asked the First Circuit Court of Appeals to delay issuing an order that could force Jason Pleau to stand trial in federal court.
Pleau might face the death penalty if he is tried in the federal court system. Rhode Island does not currently have the death penalty. As a result, the conflict between Gov. Chafee and the federal prosecutors has been turned into a death penalty debate.
According to U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha, the case isn’t about the death penalty . Rather, it’s about the government’s right to prosecute a suspect indicted by a federal jury and whether the state’s executive branches have the authority to supersede that right.
These questions have been raised in the request before the First Circuit Court of Appeal. Last Monday, the First Circuit ruled in a 3-2 decision that the federal government could prosecute Jason Pleau.
After the court’s decision, Governor Chafee announced that he planned to take the case to the United States Supreme Court.
The request for delay by Gov. Chafee stated that there is a fair prospect that the U.S. Supreme Court would side with Chafee.
Federal prosecutors claim that there is no reasonable probability that the U.S. Supreme Court would hear the case, let alone reverse the holding.
Pleau’s case involves the fatal shooting of a gas station manager in Woonsocket in 2010.
Chafee’s argument is based on the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act. He claims that a provision in that law allowing governors to refuse the surrender of state inmates applies in Pleau’s case, where federal prosecutors seek custody of a state prisoner.
There’s more to come on the Jason Pleau case; We’ll keep you posted on all the developments as the case heads to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Gov. Chafee Wins Showdown: Feds Can’t Execute Wayne Pleau (FindLaw’s First Circuit Blog)
- RI Lawyers Appeal Transfer to Feds on Death Penalty Case (FindLaw’s First Circuit Blog)
- Browse First Circuit Cases (FindLaw Cases)
- First Circuit Court of Appeals (US Courts)