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The Feds Get Their Guy In Rhode Island

The Feds Get Their Guy In Rhode Island

I reported the other day how RI Gov. Linc Chafee was refusing to turn a murderer over to the feds because the murderer potentially was subject to the death penalty.  The murderer attempted to plead guilty to the murder in state court so as to avoid federal charges, but that maneuver failed.

Now a federal judge has rejected Chafee’s objections, and ordered the murderer turned over to the feds, as reported by The Providence Journal:

A federal judge has ordered Rhode Island officials to turn over a suspect in a fatal robbery to federal authorities after Governor Chafee earlier refused to do so.

U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith says in the order issued Thursday that a federal court order for custody trumps Chafee’s refusal to turn over Jason Wayne Pleau under an interstate custody-transfer agreement.

Pleau and two others face federal charges in the September killing of gas station manager David Main outside a Woonsocket bank. Pleau is serving state sentences for a parole violation and the violation of a suspended sentence at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institutions.

The court previously entered an order transmitting the United States’ request for custody of Pleau under the Interstate Agreement on Detainees Act (IADA) so he could stand trial on federal charges.

On December 14, 2010, a federal grand jury indicted Pleau for conspiracy to commit robbery affecting commerce, robbery affecting commerce, possessing,using, carrying and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence with death resulting,

Chafee last week refused to turn over Pleau because he could face the death penalty if convicted.

Smith says that appears to be the first time a governor has done so under a custody sharing agreement.

The Judge’s Order is here.


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So why is the Federal government exercising police power over a crime that is obviously the primary jurisdiction of Rhode Island. A common murder is no concern of the Federal government. I think this issue is over the 10th Amendment rather than some interstate agreement on prisoners.

The DOJ and the local USAO should be more concerned with real Federal crimes, like perhaps illegal aliens or local mosques producing jihadists.