Judge to decide on prison liver transplant

Aug. 18, 2009 at 7:47 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The federal government has asked a judge to deny a liver transplant to an accused prison gang leader who could face the death penalty.

Ronald "Joey" Sellers, 41, is charged with racketeering for crimes allegedly committed as head of the Aryan Warriors, a white supremacist gang, the Las Vegas Sun reports. He is being held at Terminal Island in Southern California while federal prosecutors decide whether to seek the death penalty in his case.

In a brief filed with U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson, prosecutors say doctors at a Los Angeles hospital recently determined Sellers was not a good candidate for a transplant.

Sellers' lawyers say he is likely to die before he is tried unless he gets a transplant. He says he contracted hepatitis C while he was an inmate in state prisons in Nevada.

"The defendant is quite ill from his end-stage liver failure," the lawyer said in court papers. "He is severely bloated, has a massive hernia so large that a fist-size portion of his intestines are protruding from his muscular

wall and he is in constant pain requiring medication in sufficient dosages that he risks addiction."

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