Philippine Judge Denies U.S. Request for Custody of Missouri Marine

DECEMBER 13, 2006 - Posted at 8:08 a.m. CST

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - A Philippine judge overruled his own government and denied a U.S. request for custody of a Marine convicted of rape.

The judge says he dismissed an agreement between Philippine officials and the U.S. ambassador to transfer Lance Corporal Daniel Smith of St. Louis to the American Embassy.

Smith was sentenced last week to 40 years in jail for raping a 23-year-old Filipino woman.

After the 21-year-old Marine was taken to a Manila jail, the U.S. Embassy demanded his return while he appeals -- a process that could take years.

The Philippine government agreed, based on a treaty that governs U.S. forces in the Philippines.

But the judge ordered Smith to remain in Philippine custody.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)