In this action the U.S. Attorney has asserted jurisdiction over a defendant in Rhode Island custody charged with a murder, first via request under the Interstate Agreement on
Detainers (“IAD”), 18 USC App. § 2, and then by writ of habeus corpus ad prosequendum, Id at 3, to have defendant transferred to federal custody for trial. The Defendant appealed to the first circuit to stay execution of the writ and applied separately for a writ of prohibition. These matters were consolidated and a First Circuit panel approved an advisory writ in consequence of Governor Chafee's refusing the transfer under the IAD, In re: Jason Wayne Pleau, Nos. 11-1775, 11-1782 Slip op. At 28-29 (1st Cir. Oct. 13, 2011) (vacated en banc).
In this Amicus filing on behalf of the Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights, we argue that the First Circuit should stay execution of the writ, not because of the IAD, but because affording federal jurisdiction in such a circumstance of de minimus effect on commerce with no unmistakably clear direction would impermissibly disturb the constitutional structure. While the normative approach of post conviction review does not hazard the defendant, we argue such a delay itself presents hazards to federalism.
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