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United States v. Pleau

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
680 F.3d 1 (2012)


Jason Pleau (defendant) was indicted by a federal grand jury for the robbery and murder of a gas station manager making a bank deposit in Rhode Island. The federal prosecutor sought the death penalty for Pleau’s crime. The indictment was handed down while Pleau was in Rhode Island state custody serving an 18-year sentence for parole and probation violation charges. To secure Pleau’s presence in federal court, the federal government filed a detainer against Pleau, thereby invoking the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act (IAD). The purpose of the IAD is to streamline extradition of a state prisoner to stand trial in another state or, in the case of a federal offense, to forgo the need to file a motion for writ of habeas corpus. Rhode Island Governor Chafee refused the IAD request due to his stated opposition to the death penalty. The federal government then filed a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum—a writ to remove Pleau from state custody for purposes of federal prosecution—in federal district court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(5). The district court ordered Pleau to be delivered into federal custody. Pleau appealed and a panel of the court of appeals stayed the writ and allowed Governor Chafee to intervene into the action. The panel denied the writ and the federal government appealed. The full court of appeals granted rehearing. The court, sitting en banc, vacated the panel’s decision but left the stay in effect until resolution of the matter.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Boudin, J.)

Dissent (Torruella, J.)

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