Attaching letters of support from the head of the Wayne County Jail, the lead detective from the Sheriff’s Department as well as one from the director of a regional drug rehabilitation center, attorneys for convicted filmmaker Randall Miller have submitted a response to the state to refute the state’s claims of the filmmaker “arrogance” in filing of a motion to modify their client’s sentence for an early release. Miller’s motion, the lawyers argued in a filing made with the court today, “seeks to invoke the statutory procedure” that is allowed them to ask for early release.
The District Attorney in Wayne County filed a motion on New Year’s Eve day against Miller’s request to get out of jail early, stating that his request provides further evidence that the Midnight Rider filmmaker who was jailed for felony involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass has failed to accept responsibility in the death of 27 year-0ld camera assistant Sarah Jones. The state said that the motion to modify his sentence shows Miller’s “arrogance in expecting that this Court should vitiate its sentence because his friends miss him and he wants to get out …” Miller was sentenced to two years in jail and eight months probation and a fine of $25K.
Miller’s attorneys said that Miller has paid the fine in full. They also said in the latest filing that “there is nothing unethical with filing such a motion and the request does not signal Miller’s breach of the plea agreement. It is no more inappropriate to file a motion to reduce a sentence than it is for any defendant to seek parole after having agreed to a specific sentence of imprisonment or for a probationer to seek a reduction in the terms of his probation after having entered into a negotiated plea.”
You can read today’s filing and the attached exhibit letters here.
In the letter from jail administrator Captain “Bo” Jackson (Exhibit A), it was revealed that Miller has put in over 2,000 hours of community service between helping teach GED classes while incarcerated and working on the drug abuse/drug court film for another judge. He notes that he has viewed “a large portion of the film and I am quite impressed with teh work and care he has put in this project.” Jackson also called Miller “a model inmate.”
Another letter, signed by Captain Detective Joesph (sic) Naia, from the Wayne County Sheriff’s office notes that he was assigned by Sheriff John Carter “to aide Randall Miller in filming the Drug Court film project.” He says he worked in the filming and editorial process. “I worked together with Randall for several months in the filming process. “It greatly saddened me and them that my involvement ended when the film was sidelined due to political forces.” He also said that he and Miller “have become friends” and asks for his early release.
The head of a drug rehabilitation center who is also a minister also asks for Miller’s early release saying that “Randy needs to be with his wife and two children.” The letters were previously sealed from public record.
As a term for his sentence for leading his crew onto live train tracks to steal a shot without permission of the landowner which resulted in the death to Jones and the injury to several other crew members, Miller agreed to serve two years in jail and then eight years of probation. Under special conditions of his probation, he is “prohibited from serving as director, first assistant director or supervisor with responsibility for safety in any film production.”
The film that was referred to many times in the court case today was ordered by Judge Stephen Kelly with permission from Sheriff John Carter. Miller filmed about five minutes of the project and has been spending his time in jail editing the footage.
Lastly, Miller’s attorneys stated that “Miller agrees that he entered a plea with full awareness and understanding what the sentence would be (again, with the agreement of the parties that the Sheriff would apply good time credit). That last statement has been a bone of contention as Sheriff John Carter has emphatically stated that he agreed to nothing but was only asked that Miller be house in his jail. The Wayne County Detention Center has employed a 2-for-1 policy for inmates housed there, meaning that they could get out for good behavior, thereby cutting their time in half. If it applies to Miller, he could walk by March 9th, 2015.
However, to date, that policy has applied only to misdemeanor cases. Miller was charged with felony involuntary manslaughter. It is not known yet whether the Sheriff will apply this same policy to an inmate with a involuntary manslaughter charge.