Danton request for transfer to Canadian prison denied

Updated: March 30, 2006, 3:34 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- The U.S. government rejected the request by former NHL player Mike Danton to be transferred to his native Canada to serve a prison sentence for his foiled attempt to have his agent killed, saying the move "would not serve the ends of justice."

The decision was made last week by the Justice Department's prisoner-transfer unit and revealed Wednesday in federal court filings. It assures that Danton will for now remain inmate No. 10096-111 at a prison in Fort Dix, N.J.

A lawyer for the 25-year-old former St. Louis Blues player promised to continue appealing.

When Danton was sentenced in 2004 to 7½ years after pleading guilty to murder conspiracy charges, prosecutors agreed not to oppose Danton's deportation to Canada, where he said he wanted to get behind-bars surgical treatment for a shoulder injury and therapy for what his sentencing request called his "grave mental disorders."

Danton sued the U.S. government in November, contending that he unfairly has not been transferred to Canada and arguing that "similarly situated applicants have been approved for removal to their home nations, which include Canada." Danton asked to be resentenced.

The Justice Department countered that Danton waived his right to appeal by pleading guilty in July 2004 to orchestrating a conspiracy to commit an interstate killing targeting his agent, David Frost. The government has also insisted no regulations require action on international transfers within a specified time and that Danton's deal did not require a transfer, only that he be considered for one.

In a letter dated March 24 to the Correctional Service of Canada, Paula Wolff -- chief of the Justice Department's international prisoner-transfer unit -- said the transfer bid had been scuttled "after considering all appropriate factors involved in this matter."

Wolff called the action just "because transfer in this case would not serve the ends of justice and because of the seriousness of the offense."

Wolff wrote that Danton could reapply for transfer in two years, with that application "more likely to be approved in the future if the prisoner has maintained the best possible prison record and has attempted to address those reasons for denial over which the prisoner has some control." Wolff did not elaborate.

In September 2004, a federal jury acquitted Katie Wolfmeyer, 19, of Florissant, Mo., of charges she took part in the plot.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press