The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont announced today that Attorney General Eric Holder has directed the United States to withdraw the notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Michael Jacques, contingent on Jacques’ entry of a plea of guilty to all counts of the indictment with mandatory imprisonment for life with no possibility of release or parole and waiver of all rights to appeal.
The Attorney General considered a defense request to reconsider his August 2009 order to seek the death penalty in this case. The request for reconsideration raised issues related to the certainty and finality in the process that would be achieved by a plea of guilty to a sentence of mandatory life and the potential impact on a victim-witness of a trial, among other issues.
It is anticipated that Jacques will enter a plea of guilty at a hearing to be scheduled by the Court in the near future.
Pursuant to the Department of Justice’s rules and protocol used in cases regarding the death penalty, views of persons considering the reconsideration requests other than the Attorney General, and the Attorney General’s reasons for the decision, are confidential.