Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Humanists decry U.S. Appeals Court Decision in Pleau Death Penalty Case, urge appeal

Humanists decry U.S. Appeals Court Decision in Pleau Death Penalty Case, urge appeal

For Immediate Release - Contact Steve Ahlquist (401) 474-9266 or Debbie Flitman (401) 300-4674

(Providence, RI, May 8, 2012)

The Humanists of Rhode Island are proud of theState of Rhode Island's longtime commitment in opposition to the death penalty. As humanists we hold a strong commitment to human rights. Because we place human life at the core of our values we believe that there are far more humane ways to ensure justice than to engage in the practice of capital punishment. It is therefore with great concern that we read of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that seeks to compel Governor Lincoln Chafee to release Jason Wayne Pleau to federal custody where he may face the death penalty for the crimes for which he is accused.

The crime Pleau is accused of is indeed terrible, and our group expresses our condolences to the family and friends of David D. Main, who's life was tragically cut short. In an agreement with the State of Rhode Island, Pleau has agreed to plead guilty to the crime of which he has been accused and spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. This is the greatest penalty possible under our state's law, and though it seems like too little, it must be enough if we are to remain true to our ideals, our heritage and our humanity.

Rhode Island learned of the terrible consequences made possible by the death penalty when the state wrongly executed John Gordon for the murder of Amasa Sprague in 1845. It is now known that John Gordon was innocent, and he was pardoned by the General Assembly and Governor Chafee in 2011, over a century and a half too late. It has since been revealed that John Gordon was targeted because of his Irish-Catholic heritage and the bigotry prevalent at that time.

Humanists of Rhode Island therefore urges Governor Chafee to appeal the Circuit Court ruling to the United States Supreme Court. In this way our state can demonstrate our commitment to justice and human life, and set an example for the rest of the world to follow.


For more information contact:

Steve Ahlquist
Humanists of Rhode Island
(401) 474-9266
[email protected]

Debbie Flitman
Media relations
Humanists of Rhode Island
(401) 300-4674
[email protected]

Humanism is a non-theistic philosophy based on reason, compassion, optimism and action. Humanists of Rhode Island was formed in April 2011 with the intention of demonstrating these values through volunteerism and service work.

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