Federal judge tosses Danton transfer appeal
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- A federal judge threw out an appeal by former St. Louis Blues player Mike Danton, rejecting Danton's latest attempt to be allowed to transfer to his native Canada to serve out a prison sentence for a failed attempt to have his agent killed.
In throwing out Danton's appeal, U.S. District Judge William Stiehl found that Danton knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to challenge the 7½-year sentence he got in November 2004 after accepting a deal with prosecutors and pleading guilty to murder conspiracy charges.
Last Thursday's ruling assures that Danton remains an inmate at a prison in Fort Dix, N.J.
One of Danton's attorneys, Howard Kieffer of Santa Ana, Calif., said Thursday a decision on subsequent appeals would be made "within an appropriate time period."
"There are other things we can do," he said, declining additional comment.
Stiehl wrote that decisions on transfers to or from foreign countries "is left entirely to the discretion of the Attorney General."
"The crux of [Danton's] argument is that since the Justice Department did not issue a decision on his transfer request within his desired time frame, that this Court's sentencing intent was frustrated. The Court finds this argument to be unpersuasive," Stiehl wrote.
With Danton's July 2004 plea, 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 last November, contending that it was unfair that he had 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 U.S. government insisted Danton's deal did not require a transfer, only that he be considered for one.
Danton pleaded guilty to orchestrating a conspiracy to commit an interstate killing targeting his agent, David Frost. The FBI learned of the plot in advance, and Frost was unharmed.
In September 2004, a federal jury acquitted Katie Wolfmeyer of Florissant, Mo., of charges she took part in the plot.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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