Virginia Criminal Lawyer Thomas Soldan Reacts to Conviction of Mennonite Minister Kenneth Miller in Kidnapping Case

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Soldan responds to what is truly one of the most complicated and interesting cases in recent memory

A Stuarts Draft, Virginia pastor named Kenneth Miller was found guilty (Vermont District Court case No. 2:2012cv00184) by a jury of aiding and abetting international kidnapping, according to the Washington Post on August 15th, 2012. That bit alone would make it a noteworthy story, but something that would probably be off headlines in a day or two. However, this is a case ripe with legal intrigue and social commentary.

The two primary parties are Karen Jenkins and Lisa Miller, no relation to Kenneth Miller, the pastor, or Timothy Miller, the prosecution's key witness in the Virginia trial who is not related to any of the principles either. Karen and Lisa were wed by civil union in Vermont when it was one of the only states allowing such ceremonies and thereafter they decided to start a family. The couple had a baby girl with Lisa as the biological mother.

In an occurrence not unique to any type of marital union, differences arose and the parties sought to end their legal relationship. This is where the legal fireworks first started. Lisa Miller moved to Virginia and filed for full custody. The story gained some traction in the legal community as to what position the Commonwealth would take on the relationship and the rights of Karen Jenkins, according to that Washington Post article. The decision to grant Lisa custody with visitation to Karen was highly publicized and seen by some as a victory of sorts for same sex parents in the Commonwealth's domestic relations arena.

Mr. Soldan explains where Kenneth Miller came into the equation, and the repercussions that he could be facing.

"The relationship between the split custodians had deteriorated to the point where Lisa sought self-help as a remedy, says Mr. Soldan." "Any Virginia practitioner can tell you, as we tell our clients all too often, self-help is no help at all. Never favored by the Virginia courts in the domestic field, it appears to also have left Reverend Miller facing a possible prison term."

Mr. Soldan also explains why Nicaragua was the destination of choice, and looks ahead to a potential resolution in this case.

"Nicaragua was the destination of choice because they are not parties to the Hague Convention on International Child Kidnapping," says Mr. Soldan, "nor does the United States have an extradition treaty with them. Too much law and order for you? I hope not, because I'd wager there is more to come. Watch out for what happens when Lisa and her daughter are located in Nicaragua and an attempt is made to bring them back to face custody hearings and criminal charges in the States, as well as the potential outcome of the freshly filed civil suit by Karen Jenkins. No, this story is not over yet, it is just getting warmed up."

Thomas Soldan Attorney at Law is a criminal lawyer and a Virginia accident lawyer. Please contact us for more information about this case, and relevant Virginia laws.

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