Ever since Independent and former Republican Linc Chafee was elected Governor of my home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations last fall, Chafee has implemented an interesting twist on states rights by refusing to participate in federal immigration enforcement efforts.
Now Chafee has taken it one step further, refusing to turn over a murderer to the feds because of the mere possibility that the defendant could be subject to the death penalty:
As reported by The Providence Journal:
Governor Chafee declined on Thursday the U.S. Government’s request for temporary federal custody of Jason W. Pleau, charged with murder in the case of a Woonsocket gas-station owner killed on the steps of a bank.
Here is the statement from the governor’s office:
“Mr. Pleau is incarcerated in the Adult Correctional Institute (ACI) and currently stands untried for the September 20, 2010 robbery and murder of David D. Main. 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 feds have not decided whether to seek the death penalty; the mere possibility, however, is enought for Chafee to hold onto the defendant. Chafee can do it in this case under the pretext of holding him on state charges.
Rhode Island is becoming France.
Update 6-24-2011: This guy wants to stay in state hands, so is willing to plead guilty to the state charges and life without parole, as reported by ProJo:
A day after Governor Chafee, citing a possible federal death penalty, refused to hand murder suspect Jason W. Pleau over to U.S. authorities, Chafee’s office on Friday released a letter from the public defender stating that Pleau wants to plead guilty in return for a sentence of life with no parole.
Interestingly, the letter is dated May 17, 2011, so at the time of the announcement Chafee knew that the state would have custody of the murderer forever.
More: The posturing by Chafee is turning into a sick comedy. Peter Kilmartin, the RI Attorney General who is new in the job but seems like a solid AG, is not playing Chafee’s game. Kilmartin just announced that the murder charge no longer exists in state court, so the defendant cannot avoid federal charges by pleading to the state charge. What will Chafee do now, once there is a federal indictment?