Friday, May 25, 2012
ScotusBlog describes the controversy. In part:
The case turns on the meaning of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act. Normally, that law is used to make it easier for one state to obtain custody of an individual who is in another state, for prosecution for a crime in the demanding state. The federal government, however, is covered by the Act’s provisions, too.
When the federal government formally asked Rhode Island to hand over Pleau, the state — exercising what it believes is its right under the Act — refused, based on the state’s public policy against death sentencing. The government, however, then went into federal court, and obtained a formal writ commanding Rhode Island to turn over Pleau, despite the governor’s objections. As of now, the federal government’s argument has prevailed, as the en banc First Circuit Court ruled in May that Rhode Island must obey the writ. The Circuit Court split 3-2 on the issue.