It's 6:15 AM, and we just arrived back from Vermont. David Bercot had this excellent update on his site. David has been an incredible help.
Ken Miller Has Been Set Free For Now
March 4, 2013: This afternoon, Judge Sessions made three rulings:
1. He sentenced Ken Miller to 27 months in federal prison for aiding Lisa Miller to flee to Nicaragua with her daughter.
2. He decided that Ken is not going to testify before the grand jury regardless of continued incarceration, so he lifted the civil contempt order.
3. Before the hearing, we filed a notice that we intended to appeal Ken’s conviction because we feel that venue was improper. Venue is the place a trial is held. We feel that the federal rules require that the case be tried in Virginia instead of Vermont.
The judge ruled that we have raised a “substantive issue,” meaning we have a reasonable chance of prevailing on the appeal. He therefore put Ken’s prison sentence on hold until the 2nd Circuit rules on our appeal. This will probably take 2 years or longer. If the sentence were not stayed, Ken could serve nearly his entire sentence, only to have the original conviction overturned.
So Ken was able to leave the federal courthouse in Burlington, VT, and return with his wife and family to Virginia. When I last spoke with him, he was en route to Virginia. About 100 brothers and sisters attended the hearing. Ken will be under the same restrictions he was previously under—such as not leaving the state of Virginia.
Two to three years from now, we should receive a ruling from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on our appeal. If they agree with us that venue in Vermont was improper, then the federal government will have to start over. Such a ruling would erase Ken’s sentence as well as his felony conviction. The government may elect to try Ken in Virginia, or they may decide to drop the case.
If the Court of Appeals rules that venue in Vermont was proper, then Ken will have to report to the prison to which he will be assigned to begin his sentence. The judge said that Ken would serve his time in a minimum security prison in or near Virginia. DB
We are delighted to report that Ken is with his family again and is about to head back for VA. Our God is GOOD! Ken has been sentenced to 27 months, but the judge granted a stay of the sentence until the appeal regarding venue is heard and ruled on. This could potentially be several years. Until then, we are thrilled to have our dear brother, husband, and father back with us. We SANG outside in the snow.
The hearing was remarkable. I will try to post a complete report later.
Thanks be to God.
Eighteen of us from Stuarts Draft are nearing Burlington to be with our brother at his sentencing, which will be happening at 2:30 this afternoon. We don't expect to be able to talk to Ken, but we will see him in the courtroom, and hopefully hear him speak to the court.
Below is an excerpt from the letter to the judge he recently finished:
"If it is true that my actions flow out of my faith in Jesus, and from my deeply held moral believes — and I sincerely think they do — then it must follow that whatever judgment is being brought against me by the United States of America, is judgment on my faith and conscience and deeply help moral beliefs,"
"I was faced with a woman in distress who needed help to protect her daughter from what seemed to be an inhumane court decree."
The following is taken directly from David Bercot's page on Ken.
You’re Invited to Attend March 4 I wanted to let everyone know that they are invited to attend Ken’s sentencing on March 4, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. Even though you will probably not get an opportunity to talk to Ken, he will certainly be encouraged and strengthened by your presence.
Ken Is Back in the Vermont State Prison 8:30 p.m., Feb. 20, 2013: I spoke with Ken this evening around 8:00 p.m. He had just been processed back to the Vermont state facility where he was originally held. He was nearby the phone when I called so we were able to have an extended talk. He wants everyone to know that he is doing fine. We knew he would be transported back to Vermont before the hearing on March 4, but we weren’t expecting the move quite this early.
Ken actually left the Essex County Jail around 11:00 a.m. this morning. But the transportation van was also picking up prisoners from various other jails. So it took until about 7:00 p.m. this evening for the van to reach the Northwest Correctional Center in Vermont.
Because Ken is back in state prison, it means that only visitors who are on his approved visitor’s list can see him. We don’t know how long it will take to get that list set up. I plan on speaking with him on Thursday morning around 11:00 a.m., and he should know more then. Also, ministers have to be on the prison’s approved “volunteer list” to be able to visit. From what the officer said, ministers are not able to have a one-on-one visit as they are at the Essex County Jail. Instead, the approved ministers meet with a group of prisoners at one time. [David spoke with Ken recently and told us that Ken will be able to see family only next weekend just prior to sentencing.]