Law enforcement authorities in the Peach State today requested that Department of Community Supervision issue a warrant for Miller for violating the conditions of his probation, we have learned. The effort arises from Deadline’s exclusive earlier this week that Miller had directed the DGA sanctioned film Higher Grounds last summer in Serbia, Colombia and the UK.
“I have requested Wayne County probation to issue a warrant for his arrest,” Assistant District Attorney John Johnson told Deadline on Friday. “Randall Miller has violated the terms of his probation,” the Georgia prosecutor added of Miller getting behind the camera on the Kate Nash-starring Higher Grounds. “As a director, he’s in violation.”
If after a hearing before a judge, Miller is found to have violated his probation, Johnson said, “the time remaining on his probation could be revoked” and the California-based director could be returned to jail in Georgia.
“One of the conditions of his probation is that he cannot serve as a director, assistant director or as a supervisor responsible for the safety of others on a film,” Johnson explained of Miller’s 2016’s probation terms. “The way Georgia interprets those kinds of clauses is that those are separate entities, so he cannot serve as a director.”
“After a thorough review of the case and collaboration with our partners in law enforcement, it has been determined that Mr. Miller’s actions result in a violation of his probation,” Department of Community Supervision spokesperson Brian Tukes said in a statement on Friday.
ADA Johnson also told us that he believes attorney Mike Smith, who is listed as an Executive Producer on Miller’s new film has a conflict of interest. Last year Smith sent out correspondence to talent reps telling them that: “After careful review of both Mr. Miller’s charge with the Brunswick court dated March 23, 2016, and his Probation paperwork of November 1, 2018, I have formed the legal opinion: Mr. Miller is allowed to direct so long as he is not the crew member assigned with the task of safety on set.”
In his letter of April 26, 2019, the lawyer with Atlanta law firm Baker Donelson did not make clear that he was involved with Higher Grounds
Lawyers for Miller did not respond to request for comment on this latest turn of events.
The Higher Grounds job came with less than six years remaining on Miller’s 10-year probation (expiring on March 8, 2025) for the 2014 death of 27-year-old camera assistant Jones on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider, a biopic of Greg Allman. On March 23, 2016, Wayne County Superior Court Judge Anthony Harrison said the filmmaker is “prohibited from serving as director, first assistant director or supervisor with responsibility for safety in any film production.” (Read Miller’s probation document here.)
Prior to receiving probation, Miller had spent a year in jail after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Jones case. Sarah Jones was killed when she was struck by a speeding freight train on the first day of shooting Midnight Rider in the Peach State in 2014. Miller was released from jail on March 23, 2016, after the director’s attorney said they negotiated a 2-for-1 deal in the hallway with Assistant District Attorney John Johnson. Miller’s initial plea agreement occurred the year before. The DA’s office decided the original two-year sentence was “improper,” so the office amended it to one year. Harrison honored the agreement and released Miller based on time served.
In March 2018, Randall Miller argued that the restrictions in his probation left him unemployed and unemployable in the movie industry: “He needs to travel extensively in order to promote his projects and to raise money for new ventures. He needs to travel extensively in order to participate in the production of movies. But under the conditions of his ‘parole’ in California, he can[not] stray more than 50 miles from his house and must return home to meet with his parole officer on short notice and cannot travel any further than 50 miles without prior approval, which is never granted for periods of time longer than two weeks.” Harrison denied that motion.
Then in November 2018, Miller was given unsupervised probation from the Brunswick Judicial Circuit’s Department of Community Supervision. Deadline recently learned of this, having read such document. This allowed him to travel to overseas to film Higher Grounds. That production starring Glow actress Kate Nash as a vegan barista employed Jason Allen as the pic’s Assistant Director and Associate Producer in Charge of Safety. Allen was given complete authority to oversee safety on the set by the DGA, and to shutdown production if scenes proved dangerous. However, there weren’t any action scenes in the barista comedy.
David Robb contributed to this report.