Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ties Go to the Ones With the Biggest Cojones

My first thought was to call it a draw, but that's not quite right.  It's more like a double header, where the visitors win the first game and lose the nightcap.  Except that in this nightcap, the home team didn't participate, so that's not quite right either.  Maybe it's a square dance where after spinning his partner around, the one dancer lets her go and then just does a solo.  Until he trips.

Fuck it.  I don't actually have a good analogy or metaphor.

This is about the continuing - but now apparently concluded - saga of Jason Pleau and Lincoln Chafee and Eric Holder.  It's about the death penalty and the feds and the sovereign state of Rhode Island which turns out not to be all that sovereign.  And it's about, as it so often is, a struggle between the Rule of Law and the Law of Rule in which, by the end, neither is even much relevant any more.

Really, the correct analogy may be to withering on the line, though that's not really right, either.

Anyway, and in case you don't remember the back story and are too lazy to read the earlier posts to which I'm even providing a link (here), here's the guts of the plot as I wrote it in the most recent post on the case which I called Goliath - One More Time.
Here's the story.  Jason Pleau, Jose Santiago, and Kelley Lajoie allegedly plotted to rob David Main of the receipts from a gas station where he worked.  As the robbery supposedly went down, the three are said to have ended up taking some $12,542 as Main was about to deposit it at branch of Citizens Bank. In the process, it's alleged, Pleau shot and killed Main.  Charged under Rhode Island law, Pleau can get, and is willing to accept, LWOP, death in prison.  But Citizens is a federally insured bank and the feds decided that they want to try Pleau.  And they want to have him executed.
The standard way the feds would proceed is to file for a writ which would require Rhode Island to turn Pleau over.  For whatever reason, they took another approach, trying to get Pleau through the Interstate Agreement on Detainers.  The thing is that the IAD allows the governor of the state holding the prisoner sought to refuse.  Which Governor Chaffee, knowing that RI doesn't have a death penalty and not wanting to see the feds prosecute just to notch a killing on the holster of their hypodermic needle.
So the feds took Pleau and Chaffee and Rhode Island to court.  Federal court, of course.  Goliath v. David I called it.  
No surprise, Goliath (that's the feds) won Round 1.  So the little guys with the slingshot appealed, and won and then lost in the court of appeals. Rounds 2 and 3.  Goliath Wins, I wrote.  The next stop was the Supreme Court, the 9 guys and gals in the black dresses in the big courthouse in DC.
Which, as I'd earlier predicted, decided not to hear the case and Pleau went to the feds to be capitally charged, maybe.  

Except that having emerged victorious from the constitutional crisis that didn't exist, having shown that they're bigger and badder than diminutive Rhode Island and can do whatever they want because they're the feds and Law of Rule and all that shit.  Having so demonstrated, that they could try to kill Jason Pleau because death in prison wasn't a sufficient sentence for him.  Having done all that.
This from the AP story by Susan Campbell with Chris Raia.
Changing his plea to guilty on Wednesday afternoon, an accused killer avoided the death penalty and will instead spend the rest of his life in prison.
Jason Pleau, accused of murdering David Main during a 2010 robbery, pleaded guilty on three federal charges on Wednesday and agreed to serve a life sentence in prison with no possibility for parole.
Which kind of leaves it where it was before all the legal squabbling between Rhode Island and feds.  Pleau was willing to plead to LWOP then.  He did plead to it now.

If there was any doubt before, it's dispelled now.  This had nothing to do with Jason Pleau or justice (whatever that might be) or even the death penalty, which was merely the excuse.  It had nothing to do with the Rule of Law. It was all about the feds proving that their dick was bigger than Rhode Island's.  

Don't get me wrong.  It's a good thing that they won't be pursuing death against Pleau.  But LWOP has been a ready option from the beginning - one the feds refused so they could make a point.

About the Law of Rule.  Which, of course, won.

And the Rule of Law. 

Which of course lost.

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