RSS Feeds

Va. man appeals appearance in Vt. custody case

Tuesday - 10/16/2012, 5:56pm  ET

MONTPELIER, Vt. - A Virginia pastor asked a federal appeals court Tuesday to quash a subpoena requiring him to testify as part of an investigation into the flight from the United States of a woman who didn't want to share custody of her daughter with her former partner in a Vermont civil union.

The attorney for Kenneth Miller, of Stuarts Draft, Va., said Monday he did not plan to appeal a subpoena requiring Miller to testify before a federal grand jury next month in Vermont.

But Attorney Joshua Autry, of Camp Hill, Pa., said the decision was made Tuesday morning to ask the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to overturn a decision by a federal court judge in Vermont that required Miller to testify.

"The constitutional rights at issue here are substantial," Autry said.

Kenneth Miller was convicted by a federal jury in August on a charge that he arranged for Lisa Miller and Isabella to travel from the U.S. to Nicaragua in September 2009, where they are still believed to be living. He faces up to three years in prison. No sentencing date has been set.

Lisa Miller and Kenneth Miller are not related.

Autry said even though Kenneth Miller has been convicted, he still retains a right against self-incrimination and a right to have an attorney present during questioning. He said a grand jury would question Miller without his attorneys present.

In earlier court proceedings, prosecutors said they would give Miller immunity from prosecution for anything he said before the grand jury.

Isabella was born to Lisa Miller in 2002 while she was joined in a civil union with Janet Jenkins, of Fair Have. The couple split up in 2003, but they were engaged in a custody dispute until Lisa Miller and Isabella, who had been living in Virginia, disappeared.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)