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