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NY Times Supports Chafee Pleau Stance

May 10, 2012

The New York Times editorial page has weighed in supporting Governor Lincoln Chafee’s decision to refuse to transfer custody of Jason Wayne Pleau to the federal government so that the Justice Department can have the option of seeking the death penalty.

Rhode Island voters abolished the death penalty in 1984 and the state has not put a prisoner to death since 1845, when John Gordon was hanged. Gordon’s death has long been the subject of debate in Rhode Island. He was an Irish immigrant convicted of killing a Yankee mill owner at a time of anti-immigrant hysteria in New England. Gordon was pardoned posthumously last year.

The Times editorial mentioned Gordon and praised Chafee’s stance. “The government is turning this case into a pointless state-federal clash. The First Circuit was wrong to insist on the prisoner transfer. Rhode Island will serve the country’s interest and its own by asking the Supreme Court to review the case.’’



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