Sunday, November 17, 2013

United States v. Pleau case brief

United States v. Pleau case brief summary
680 F.3d 1 (2012)

Appellant state inmate sought judicial review of the decision by the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island ordering him, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 2241(c)(5), to be delivered into federal custody to answer a federal indictment. The inmate also sought a writ of prohibition to bar the district court from enforcing the habeas writ. The federal government had also invoked the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act.

There were two questions to be answered.
1.  The first was whether the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act (IAD), 18 U.S.C.S. app. 2, § 2, precluded the federal government's use of a habeas writ after a detainer has been filed and an initial IAD request has been rejected to convert a request into a command.
2.  The second question was whether in such a case § 2241(c)(5) compelled the state governor to deliver the prisoner or whether compliance was merely a matter of comity that the governor may withhold.


  • The governor had refused the IAD request because of his stated opposition to capital punishment. 
  • Under the Mauro decision, Article IV(a) of the IAD could not be read as providing authority that the states had previously lacked. 
  • Under the Supremacy Clause, U.S. Constitutional article VI, clause 2, a state never had authority to dishonor an ad prosequendum writ issued by a federal court. A § 2241(c)(5) writ was enforceable over a state's contrary preference.

The writ of prohibition was denied, and the stay of the habeas writ was vacated.

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