Va. Pastor: US Custody Case Had No Vt. Connection
The Virginia pastor convicted in a Vermont federal court of helping a woman and her child flee the country rather than share custody with her former lesbian partner is arguing that the case should be dismissed because his actions had no connection to Vermont, court documents say.
Attorneys for Kenneth Miller argue that he never left Virginia, where he lives, while he helped Lisa Miller and daughter Isabella flee. First they were driven by another person across Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York before they entered Canada from Buffalo, N.Y., and then went on to Nicaragua.
"Since he has the constitutional right to be tried in the place where the criminal conduct occurred, his conviction should be reversed, the judgment vacated and the indictment dismissed," Miller’s attorneys wrote in documents filed with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
But prosecutors counter that trying the case in Vermont was appropriate because the crime didn’t begin until Lisa Miller and her daughter left the country in September 2009. They also lived in Vermont earlier.
"The essential conduct comprising the crime occurred outside the United States; and because Vermont, the district of arrest, had substantial contacts to the case, venue in Vermont was appropriate," prosecutors said in their brief.