Category Archive 'Legally Dead'

22 Oct 2013

Probate Judge Tells Ohio Man He’s Still Legally Dead

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The Courier (Findlay, Ohio):

Donald E. Miller Jr.’s future remains as murky as his past.

The Fostoria man attracted national and international attention this week after a Hancock County judge ruled that Miller is still legally dead, although Miller appeared and testified in court.

In 1994, Probate Judge Allan Davis ruled that Miller was legally dead, about eight years after Miller disappeared from his Arcadia home.

That decision can’t be undone, Davis said this week. Under Ohio law, a death ruling can only be changed within three years, Davis said.

Miller’s Social Security number and driver’s license have been canceled, Miller said.

Miller, 61, is stuck for now in legal limbo with few ways out.

However, a legally dead person could appeal the judge’s decision, said John Martin, professor of law at Ohio Northern University, Ada.

Legal aid services or an enterprising attorney would likely handle the case for free, Martin said.

“Just for the fun of it, somebody should take” the case, Martin said.

Ohio’s missing-person law is necessary to settle some estates and marriages, Martin said. But revising the law to allow a person to have a clean start after a certain period would resolve cases such as Miller’s, he said.

“Why they put ‘three years’ in there is a mystery to me,” Martin said.

Miller’s attorney, Francis Marley of Fostoria, told ABCNews.com that an appeal to a higher court will “probably not” occur.

“We may go another avenue as far as federal something, but we haven’t decided yet,” Marley said. “He’s obviously disappointed. Who wouldn’t be?”

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Walter Olson.


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