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Statement from Governor Lincoln D. Chafee Regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's Denial of Certiorari in the Matter of Jason Wayne Pleau


Location: Unknown

I am disappointed that the United States Supreme Court has decided not to review this important case. Rhode Island and 47 other states entered into the Interstate Agreement on Detainers in good faith. That Agreement authorizes Governors to refuse a prisoner transfer request when it would violate the custodial state's public policy. I invoked the Agreement to block the transfer of Mr. Pleau to federal custody because it appeared that the sole purpose of that transfer was to subject Mr. Pleau to the death penalty -- a penalty that Rhode Island has long rejected. The federal government was obligated to respect Rhode Island's right, as a co-equal party to the Agreement, to refuse to transfer this prisoner. That it did not and that the federal courts did not enforce the express terms of the Agreement is cause for concern both for the future of the Agreement and for our federalism.

I want to thank the National Governors Association, which represents the Governors of all 50 states, the Council of State Governments, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Cato Institute, the Independence Institute, the ACLU, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, various offices of the Federal Defender, the Rhode Island Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Puerto Rico Bar Association, the National Association of Extradition Officials, and the Attorneys General of Ohio, New Mexico, Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, and Kansas -- widely disparate groups all of whom filed amicus briefs with the Court in support of Rhode Island's position in this case. I also wish to thank Patricia A. Millett and the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld for the exceptional work they did on this case -- all of it without charge to the taxpayers of the State of Rhode Island.

As I have repeatedly said, my involvement in this case was not about Mr. Pleau personally, but rather about critical states' rights issues.

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