Kidnapping Virginia Pastor Seeks Second Appeal in VT Court
A Mennonite pastor from Virginia who was convicted of helping a woman and her daughter flee the country from a same-sex custody battle is attempting to have his federal conviction removed on the basis that the crime did not occur in Vermont, where his arrest and subsequent trial took place.
Kenneth Miller, the Mennonite pastor from Stuarts Draft, VA., and his attorneys, are appealing the decision through the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal cites that Miller helped Lisa Miller (no relation) and her daughter Isabella conspire their exodus in Virginia and fled through New York by way of the Rainbow Bridge to Canada in September 2009. Shortly after leaving the US, Lisa Miller and her daughter flew to Nicaragua.
According to U.S. law, any citizen who’s outside the United States can be prosecuted where they are arrested. Miller’s attorneys said that filings in appeal courts in different parts of the country have ruled differently concerning the venue of cases in the US and outside the country.
“Affirming appellant’s conviction will create a significant loophole in federal venue law, opening the door to unregulated venue shopping in a wide range of cases…,” says Miller’s filings, “Strategic decisions will be developed to try cases in more favorable districts rather than where offenses were committed.”
U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin in Vermont told LGBTQ Nation that while he has not seen the appeal, he doubts it’s validity, “The crime was not completed until they entered Canada,” said Coffin. Coffin also claims that because Miller’s arrest took place in Vermont, he is liable to being prosecuted there.
Miller, Jenkins, and their baby
Lisa Miller and her daughter looked to leave the country after a custody battle with her former partner, Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven. Miller and Jenkins married in Vermont in 2000 with Isabella being born to Lisa two years later after in vitro fertilization. Miller and Jenkins legally dissolved their union in 2003 after Miller renounced her homosexuality. Miller gained custody of their daughter, but with visitation rights being granted to Jenkins. Miller attempted to gain full custody of Isabella after moving to Virginia, but left the country two months later, having a Vermont judge change custody of Isabella to Jenkins.
A year after Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella left the United States, Kenneth Miller turned himself in to federal authorities in Vermont in December of 2011. Miller was then sentenced to 27 months in prison last March. Kenneth Miller has managed to delay his sentence through his appeals and by refusing to answer questions about the case for the grand jury.
Lisa Miller has a pending international kidnapping charge, as U.S. Marshals, ICE, and FBI agents have yet to locate Miller or her daughter. She is believed to still be in Nicaragua with her daughter. Nicaragua currently does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
Image via CoachJeffThomas.com Most universities and businesses maintain commercial package liability insurance policies that protect against claims that arise out of bodily injury and damage claims from everything for slip and fall types of claims to negligent maintenance of grounds and dorm facilities. Such coverage does not typically cover federal racketeering charges and other claims [...]June 25, 2013
- Update: Pastor Found Guilty In Lesbian Kidnapping Case, August 17, 2012
- Man Surrenders In Lesbian Kidnapping Case, December 7, 2011
- Charges Dropped Ex-Lesbian Kidnapper Case, November 9, 2011
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