Pubdate: Wed, 06 Sep 2006
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 The Windsor Star
Author: Trevor Wilhelm, Windsor Star


Trafficker Sentenced To Three Years In Canada, Could
Get Another 10 In U.S.

A Windsor lawyer hopes to change how Canada extradites criminals by
taking the case of his client -- a convicted cocaine trafficker facing
similar charges in the U.S. -- to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Talib Steven Lake's lawyer, Frank Miller, said that if his application
is successful, it could make provincial Court of Appeal decisions on
the issue more uniform and force the minister of justice to better
justify reasons for extraditing someone.

"It will change the way the minister makes decisions in extraditions,"
said Miller. "He'll have to be more careful. It could mean the
minister has to do more to justify surrendering Canadian citizens.
It's also a really important case because it raises the issue of how
appeal courts assess a decision of the minister to send someone to a
foreign country."

Last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal denied Lake's application to
overturn an extradition order to the United States, where he would
face court proceedings for the same drug deal he already served time
for in Canada.

Miller said he will now apply to take the case to the Supreme Court of
Canada. A decision, made by a three-judge panel, likely won't come
until after Christmas.

The United States requested Lake's extradition after he had served
three years in Canada and was out on bail. A Superior Court judge
signed the extradition order in 2004.

Lake appealed, claiming that it violates his charter right to remain
in Canada, the minister of justice failed to give adequate reasons for
the extradition decision and the U.S. minimum 10-year sentence is
unjust and oppressive.

Miller added Tuesday that the standards for addressing appeals vary
from province to province and the Supreme Court has never clarified
the situation.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Christian Girouard said he couldn't
comment because the case is still before the courts.

Lake was arrested in Windsor in late 1997 as part of a large OPP sting
when he tried to sell thousands of dollars worth of crack cocaine to
an undercover cop.

He pleaded guilty in 1998 to three charges of trafficking crack
cocaine to the undercover officer, two counts of possessing proceeds
of crime and one of conspiracy to traffic.

Lake, who spent a year in jail before confessing, was sentenced to
another three years in penitentiary.

After he got out, American authorities started the extradition process
to try him there, because the cocaine exchange between Lake and the
officer occurred in Detroit.

In the U.S., he would face a possible 10-year minimum

"This guy will get sentenced over there for trafficking consecutive to
what he got here," said Miller. "It's a tough situation."
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