Governor, church appear aligned on death penalty issue

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Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to retain jurisdiction over accused killer Jason Pleau.

Pleau is accused of killing David Main outside a Woonsocket bank in 2010.

Chafee’s motivation is to keep Pleau from being subject to a possible federal death penalty.

Chafee says Rhode Island has a long history of opposing the death penalty, a view shared by the Catholic Church.

“I haven’t heard from them in an official capacity … But I should reach out to them,” Chafee said Thursday.

The church has long maintained it’s proper for it to be involved in public policy debates that involve moral choices. Abortion and same-sex marriage are two that see the church actively lobbying at the State House.

NBC 10 News asked for Bishop Thomas Tobin to explain how the church is approaching this case. He was unavailable, but the Rev. Christopher Mahar explained the church’s position.

“The church doesn’t lobby or support the governor. The church lobbies and supports human life,” Mahar said.

NBC 10 asked if the church is going to support the effort to prevent the possible execution of an alleged criminal.

“I don’t think we get into the legalities of anything,” Mahar said.

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