Miller was ordered to serve 10 years of probation after pleading guilty in 2015 to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the crash that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured six others.
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While he is on probation, Miller is forbidden from working as a director or having any other role on set where he would be in charge of safety.
In 2020, prosecutors asked that Miller’s probation be revoked, after they learned that he had shot a new movie, “Higher Grounds.” The judge in the case, Anthony Harrison, declined to send Miller back to jail, but warned him not to make any more films for the balance of his probation.
Last fall, the state probation office submitted a request that Miller’s probation be terminated early, under a 2017 criminal justice reform law that reduced probationary sentences for first-time offenders who had demonstrated good behavior. Harrison denied that request in January, citing the “unique circumstances” of the Miller case.
Miller’s attorney, Ed Garland, asked the judge to reconsider in March. He noted that Miller should have been eligible for a hearing under the new law because he had paid his fines and had not violated his probation terms. Harrison rejected Garland’s motion and also rejected Garland’s request to transfer the case to a different judge.
Garland then took the case to the state Court of Appeals, arguing that the judge had violated Miller’s due process rights by refusing to hold a hearing. Garland also repeated the request that the case be reassigned.
In August, the Brunswick Judicial Circuit filed its response, arguing that the appeal was untimely. The prosecutor’s office also argued that the new law should not apply retroactively to Miller’s case, and took issue with the defense claim that the judge did not hear evidence before making his decision.
“To the contrary, the trial court has heard extensive evidence over the years as the result of Miller’s exhaustive efforts to reduce [his] agreed upon sentence,” wrote Assistant D.A. Benjamin Gephardt.
Miller was initially sentenced to two years in jail, but had that reduced to one year under an agreement with prosecutors. He later asked to have his active probation terminated after two years, which the trial court and an appeals court denied.
Gephardt also noted the alleged violation involving the filming of “Higher Grounds.”
The appellate court has yet to issue its ruling.
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