Subscribe

The waiting game continues for Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, the U.S. Marine convicted last year in Philippine court of raping a 22-year-old Filipina.

The Court of Appeals won’t consider Smith’s challenge of his conviction and 40-year sentence in Philippine prison until at least mid-September, according to Smith’s attorney, Jose Justiniano.

Last week, the court granted the Office of the Solicitor General’s request for another 90 days to file its brief outlining the government’s case for denying the appeal, Justiniano said.

The Office of the Solicitor General, representing the Philippine government, cited the case’s voluminous records as the reason it needed more time, Justiniano said.

Smith was arrested with three other Marines, all assigned at the time to the Okinawa-based 31st Expeditionary Unit, on Nov. 1, 2005, while on liberty inside the Subic Bay Freeport. Smith allegedly had sex with the inebriated woman inside a van while the others watched. The other Marines were acquitted after a seven-month trial.

“We have an advantage,” Justiniano said, when asked why he was able to submit his brief to the court last month, without an extension. “I was in the case from the beginning. I am familiar with testimony of every witness presented by the prosecution.”

Justiniano previously represented one of the Marines acquitted in the case.

Justiniano said once both sides file their documents, the Court of Appeals generally is expected to issue a decision within 90 days, but justices could take longer since the timeline isn’t mandatory.

If the Court of Appeals does not overturn Smith’s conviction, Justiniano said the plan is to file an appeal with the Philippine Supreme Court.

Smith has been in the custody of the U.S. Embassy in Manila since late December.

Justiniano said he doesn’t see his client very often since “there’s really nothing to discuss because we have already” filed our appeal.

“He’s OK,” he added. “I think he has adjusted to his condition here.”

The high-profile rape case triggered anti-American protests in the Philippines and calls for revising the Visiting Forces Agreement between the U.S. and Philippines.

author picture
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now