Six days after he was sentenced to 12 months in jail for two misdemeanor charges in connection with the death of a Lansdowne infant who was being pushed through a crosswalk, John Miller IV’s lawyer has petitioned for him to enter the work-release program. And he just might get it.
Circuit Court Judge Douglas Fleming on Friday signed the order directing that Miller be considered for the diversionary program.
If Miller meets the criteria, he could return to work as a golf instructor, while continuing to serve his jail time on nights and weekends.
According to a statement issued Monday night, the Sheriff’s Office learned of Fleming’s order today and the agency will review the formal application when it is received to determine whether any disqualifying information exists. Typically, disqualifying circumstances include prior serious criminal activity, including homicide, robbery, rape and other Part 1 criminal offenses. Miller has no prior criminal history.
“As Mr. Miller was convicted of reckless driving, he initially appears to be eligible to participate in the program. However, the Sheriff’s Office will review the application when received, to see if any disqualifying information exists,” according to the Sheriff’s Office’s statement.
The request is being opposed by the family of 5-month-old Tristan Schulz. Mindy Schulz, Tristan’s mother who also was struck by Miller’s SUV in the crosswalk on Aug. 31, 2016, sent Sheriff Mike Chapman a message objecting to any decrease in jail time.
“I am writing to respectfully request that you decline authorization for Mr. John Francis Miller IV into any Work Release Program or other arrangement other than remaining with the general population within the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center,” she wrote. “This inmate is the man that killed my infant son, Tristan, and seriously injured me. He has escaped 17 months of accountability and responsibility. In nearly 7 hours of testimony between my husband and myself, Miller never even shed a tear. His lawyer has even kept the photographic evidence of the crime scene, and of my son’s injuries, from Miller’s view. Miller has never once had to face the reality of what he’s done to my son, my family, me, or this community.
“The ONLY way John Miller will have any opportunity to internalize the crimes he has committed is by being denied further leniency and distraction from those crimes,” she wrote. “Please, Sheriff Chapman, please do not allow further leniency for John F. Miller IV.”
In the request for work-release consideration, Miller’s attorney stated that both Miller and his wife are self-employed and that both need employment to be able to make mortgage payments and meet their other financial obligations.
“The Sheriff’s Office has a long-standing policy regarding the criteria under which an inmate may qualify. For example, the Sheriff’s Office policy does not permit an inmate to enter the program if he or she has certain prior convictions, including homicide, robbery, rape and other Part 1 offenses.
Chapman said he spoke with Mindy’s husband, Rodney, today about the issue. “I feel for the family and cannot imagine the grief and pain they have suffered since Tristan’s death. I am nonetheless obligated to follow lawful orders of the court and therefore must appropriately screen Mr. Miller for eligibility,” the sheriff said in a statement.
According to the court filing, a request for work release is expected to take 60 days to review.