RI News
10:33 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Pleau’s Lawyers Argue Death Penalty Unconstitutional

The pre-trial legal wrangling over accused killer Jason Pleau took on new dimensions Wednesday when his attorney told a federal judge the death penalty is unconstitutional and should be taken off the table in his case. Pleau is one of three people charged with the killing of Woonsocket gas station manager David Main in 2010. 

Unable to keep their client out of the hands of federal prosecutors where death penalty is an option, attorneys for accused killer Jason Pleau argued instead that the death penalty itself is unconstitutional. Defense attorney David Hoose told U.S. District Judge William Smith that while the Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty as constitutional, he believes that someday the high court will strike it down.  He urged Smith to be “first in line” to find it unconstitutional. 

The argument was unpersuasive. The judge said the defense attorney was asking him to ignore binding precedent set by high court and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hoose also argued that Pleau should be spared the death penalty because the crime occurred in Rhode Island, a state that has long spurned capital punishment. The prosecutor responded that there have been many cases where the federal government imposed the death penalty in states that bar it.

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