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Rhode Island becomes France, refuses to turn murderer over to feds due to possible death penalty

Rhode Island becomes France, refuses to turn murderer over to feds due to possible death penalty

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?


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Sadly — considering Obama’s fluffy-headed liberalism — unlike Arizona, this will be one case where a State doesn’t have to worry about the Feds enforcing their authority.

It’s going to take years to wash these fools out of our system. If we can’t, we’re well and truly screwed.


In the age of Obama, going against the Feds will only be punished if it trespasses against liberalism.

common tater | June 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm

The party of Lincoln now supporting the revolting.

I am curious what he hopes to accomplish with this. So now, Rhode Island becomes a safe haven for murderers facing the death penalty in the US? There was a time when Rhode Island was a haven for escaped slaves. It is amazing how far things have fallen.
It will be France without the wonderful cheese.

If I were an unarmed citizen, I would worry about my safety.

The only way RI becomes a safe haven for criminals to commit capital crimes is if the crimes are committed in RI. Otherwise they would have no pretext to retain custody, or to even hold the accused. They’ll have a harder time getting sympathy when they try to block an extradition request from another state.

That the governor freely admits his ulterior motive is dishonorable, but still legal.

Being in favor of the death penalty this is not a specific course of action I would support. But I have a hard time getting too upset about this – any day a State can tell the Feds to go pound sand is a good day for liberty.

    ironghost in reply to ThomasD. | June 24, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I’m leery of the states being able to tell the government off: this nation has a history of bad ideas at the state level. We need some centralized leadership. I’m not a fan of the death penalty anymore (stupidly inefficient, prone to mistakes), but I’m also not a fan of stunts like the one RI is trying to pull.

    Like someone else said however, Obama’s such a weenie they’ll get away with this.

I first thought that Rhode Island had surrendered to Massacheusetts but no not yet.

The undeclared war continues.

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