PROVIDENCE – A federal appeals court ruled last week that Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee must surrender a prisoner to federal authorities to potentially face the death penalty, The Associated Press reported.
The Boston-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit ruled that Chafee could not keep shooting suspect Jason Pleau in state custody to shield him from capital punishment. The court said that allowing him to do so would undermine the federal government’s ability to prosecute federal crimes, the court ruled. Chafee last week said he would appeal the ruling.
Pleau was serving an 18-year sentence in state prison for parole violations when he was indicted on federal charges for the 2010 murder and robbery of gas-station attendant David Main outside a bank. The federal government asked for custody of Pleau under a federal law that governs the transfer of prisoners between states and the U.S. government. Chafee refused, citing Rhode Island’s policy of opposing the death penalty. •