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Timo Miller and Philip Zodhiates update

We have news:

Timo Miller was "deported" from Nicaragua (which I'm sure he, in a sense, didn't mind, having been arrested there and kept in a foul prison for several weeks) and "arrested" when he arrived on U.S. soil. In other words, an extradition by another name. The Department of Justice states that he "is due to appear in the Western District of New York at a later date." At least in the U.S. he can't be held indefinitely without trial.

It's a horribly depressing thought that we have come to such a pass in the United States that this is good news. It's good news that a kindly, gentle, harmless Mennonite missionary has been arrested and is going to be tried and (in all probability) sent to federal prison merely for helping a woman who fled to Nicaragua to save her child from being given over to her former lesbian lover. All of his "crimes" were committed on Nicaraguan soil (you know, giving Lisa and Isabella a place to stay and introducing them to the Mennonite community), but apparently the U.S. Congress asserts jurisdiction over such acts committed abroad by U.S. citizens in so-called "international kidnapping" cases. It is a grave injustice that this is a crime at all. Yet I admit to being relieved (as I'm sure his family is) that he is not being held indefinitely without trial in Nicaragua, as seemed a real possibility at one time.

This reminds me of something once said over lunch to me and some others by someone who had lived as a child under Communism in Poland. He said something like this (paraphrased): "We had due process in Poland at that time. There were many crimes that shouldn't have been crimes, but they still had to get evidence to convict you of them."

That's pretty much where we're getting to in the U.S. now.

In related news, Philip Zodhiates has been convicted of international parental kidnapping for helping Lisa. Sentencing is scheduled for January 30. He could be sentenced to up to eight years and $500,000. Meanwhile, don't forget Janet Jenkins's RICO suit waiting in the wings against him, among others.

Some reports here appear to come from someone who was actually present at the Zodhiates trial. I make no endorsement of this blogger otherwise. I just found him by googling today. But he has some information. He states that the judge "scrupulously prevented the defence from going into the jury's right to judge the law as well as the facts" and that this made the conviction pretty much a fait accompli from the outset. This seems highly plausible, as I read in an earlier story that defense attorneys did intend to claim (inter alia) that it was unclear that Zodhiates actually broke the law by his acts, partly because the judge's order of full custody to Jenkins hadn't been officially made yet at the time of the escape. If the jury was not allowed to consider this or similar lines of defense, that could obviously prejudice the outcome. Would this possibly be grounds for an appeal for lack of due process? Would it be worth trying? I don't know.

Comments (8)

I wonder how long it will be until the Nicaraguans deport Lisa and Isabella. Certainly they are willing to do so, and they probably stick out like sore thumbs.

Also, if that does happen, what happens to Isabella? She is still a minor. Her being forced to be with Janet is about as bad as putting these men in jail.

Certainly they are willing to do so, and they probably stick out like sore thumbs.

Actually, last they were heard of, they are disguised as Mennonites. And to all intents (as often when one is forced to adopt a disguise for a long time) they have probably become Mennonites. There is evidently quite a Mennonite network in Nicaragua. They may be with some of them.

What has been stated, however, is that they disappeared from the knowledge of Timo Miller's family (who had been their introduction to the Mennonite community) when Timo was arrested in the U.S. the first time, back in 2011. Doubtless they were afraid that he would tell where they are. So _allegedly_ even their original Mennonite friends don't know where they are.

Of course, it's also possible that they are in real danger of another kind. It's not like Nicaragua is exactly a nice place, and an American woman and small child (I don't even know if Lisa spoke Spanish at first) could easily be snatched up by many different kinds of bad guys. We need to pray for their safety for a great many reasons.

As to whether the Nicaraguans are willing to deport them, *up until now*, I don't think they were. In fact, I had a rather cynical thought that the Mennonites may have been bribing the police. (I know, I know, very cynical. But it's South America, so...doesn't everybody bribe the police?) But at this point I'm concerned that someone or other is bribing them from the other side. So if they _can_ find Lisa and Isabella, they would send them back.

By the way, I've been informed recently that even signatories to an extradition treaty for International Parental Kidnapping (and Nicaragua is _not_ such a signatory) are not required to extradite a child after the age of 16. I really don't know what that means, though. Does that mean they _can_ extradite the child after that but just don't _have_ to? Does it mean the American authorities don't _want_ to get hold of a child anymore after turning 16?

Of course, they will want to get hold of Lisa indefinitely. She's a fugitive for the rest of her life. If there's a statute of limitations on "international kidnapping," I'd be surprised.

Thank you for the update Lydia! May the wisdom, strength, and peace that only God can provide be given to the Millers (all of them), Philip Zodhiates, and other related family members during this difficult time.

It appears that in 2014 Timo Miller was indicted in New York, despite his cooperation in 2011. The excuse given by the U.S. Attorney General's office in New York State was that he did not abide by his side of the agreement to cooperate fully because he did not return to testify *in person* in the trial of Ken Miller in 2012. They had to use his videotaped deposition instead of in-person testimony. It sounds like the Buffalo office was looking for an excuse to take a whack at Timothy Miller in a sweep along with Philip Zodhiates, who was indicted in 2014 at the same time, also in New York.


My best guess is that the federal prosecutors in Buffalo, NY, wanted to try him and Zodhiates at the same time and somehow pressured, bribed, or induced the Nicaraguans to pick him up in August about a month before the Zodhiates trial. In the event, he apparently was sent back to the U.S. while Zodhiates' trial was going on.

The idea that Buffalo, NY, is the proper venue for trying a man whose "crime" of helping a woman fugitive was committed in Nicaragua, on the grounds that some other guy who arranged the travel of the same woman made a phone call from Buffalo when helping her to get across into Canada seems a little...creative to me, but what do I know about prosecutorial venue-shopping?

If the abortion witch wins in November it would likely be useless, but if the lewd huckster wins we might consider petitioning for full pardons for all the victims of this star-chamber.

Philip's sentencing has been scheduled for this week.

Yes, the day before Timothy's--that is, tomorrow, the 22nd. Timothy Miller's sentencing is scheduled for the 23rd. Presumably because it is the same judge. I thought I had posted that rescheduling of Zodhiates' sentencing, but apparently I only e-mailed with someone about it.

Philip got 1 year in prison. He will be able to serve it at the same VA prison where Ken is.

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