WASHINGTON (AP) with contributions from Carolyn Cronin
The Supreme Court won't stop the federal government from claiming a Rhode Island inmate who will face the death penalty if convicted of murder.
The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Jason Pleau and the state of Rhode Island. Pleau is charged with killing a Woonsocket, R.I., gas station manager in 2010. He's currently in federal custody and faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “I am obviously pleased with the decision of the United States Supreme Court not to review the First Circuit’s entirely correct ruling requiring the State of Rhode Island to surrender custody of Mr. Pleau to the United States for trial in federal court. As we have been since September of 2010, we are prepared to move ahead with this case immediately and without delay.”
Gov. Lincoln Chafee had refused to turn over Pleau to federal authorities, citing the state's rejection of the death penalty. But an appeals court has ruled the state must surrender Pleau to federal officials, despite the state's insistence that the federal government is violating a legal agreement that authorizes the state to deny a request to transfer a prisoner.
Governor Lincoln Chafee said, "I'm very disappointed, because as I said, the Federal Government came to me asking for my permission, as they would to whoever was the governor to release the prisoner. So if they thought they could take him anyway, just take him. Why ask me for my permission? I thought the law was on our side, I really thought we had a good case."