Pacific edition, Thursday, May 17, 2007

The lawyer representing Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith planned to file his client’s appeal this week with the Philippine court of appeals.

The brief asks justices to overturn Smith’s rape conviction by the lower court judge, Benjamin Pozon.

But Jose Justiniano, in a phone interview Tuesday, said it’s difficult to predict when a decision might be made.

“I don’t foresee any immediate action,” he said.

Smith was sentenced in December to 40 years in a Philippine prison for raping a 22-year-old Filipina.

After being rushed to a hospital last month with abdominal pain, Smith is back at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Justiniano said. Smith, 21, has been detained at the embassy since late December while his appeal is pending. The medical emergency was related to kidney stones, according to local Philippine news reports.

Justiniano said Smith was hospitalized for one day. He believes his client to be in fair health now, he said, though he hasn’t seen him for some time. Justiniano said he believes his time is better spent working on Smith’s case than visiting him.

Smith was arrested with three other Marines, all assigned to the Okinawa-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, on Nov. 1, 2005, while on liberty inside the Subic Bay Freeport.

He was convicted of raping the inebriated woman inside a van while the other three Marines watched.

The three others were acquitted and returned to Okinawa.

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