Judge tells man he's still legally dead

Ohio man who resurfaced after vanishing for several years is told the ruling that declared him dead can't be reversed
Associated Press
Oct 11, 2013

A man who disappeared decades ago is finding out there's no easy way to come back from the dead.

Donald Miller Jr. went to court this week to ask a county judge to reverse a 1994 ruling that declared him legally dead after he had vanished from his home eight years earlier. But the judge turned down his request, citing a three-year time limit for changing a death ruling.

Hancock County Probate Court Judge Allan Davis called it a "strange, strange situation."

"We've got the obvious here. A man sitting in the courtroom, he appears to be in good health," said Davis, who told Miller the three-year limit was clear.

"I don't know where that leaves you, but you're still deceased as far as the law is concerned," the judge said.

Miller resurfaced about eight years ago and went to court so that he could get a driver's license and reinstate his Social Security number.

His ex-wife had opposed the move, saying she doesn't have the money to repay the Social Security benefits that were paid out to her and the couple's two children after Miller was declared dead.

Robin Miller said her former husband vanished because he owed big child support payments and that the overdue payments had totaled $26,000 by 1994, The (Findlay) Courier reported.

Miller, 61, told the judge that he disappeared in the 1980s because he had lost his job and he was an alcoholic. He lived in Florida and Georgia before returning to Ohio around 2005.

His parents told him about his "death" when he came back to the state, he said.

"It kind of went further than I ever expected it to," Miller said. "I just kind of took off, ended up in different places."

Miller's attorney said he may be able to challenge the Social Security Administration in federal court, but does not have the financial resources to do so.

Comments

eriemom

We said that you are dead and therefore you must remain dead.......Bahahaha
Should have paid for your children and you could have lived.

2Timothy1-7

A stunning example of legal formalism triumphing over facts and justice. Under the inherent authority of the Court, a judge can declare a judgment void if it is fraudulent. The Judge is now perpetuating a legal fraud. He knows the man is not dead and thus his continuing to uphold the original ruling is fraudulent.

Truth or Dare

This is asinine and what's even worse, the Mother would have to repay! Let's not reinstate life to a dead-man-walking so that he can get a job and repay that $$$ himself?! Just another prime example of the messed up judicial system in Ohio! Hey, maybe someone will lone him the money, hook him up w/the right contact, the right people and he can get a fraudulent SS# w/a new name attached!

Commenter

Why shouldn't HE have to pay SS back? He's the one that disappeared.
And 3 years to change the ruling of death - What does that mean for Justice for Jake - it's been a year and a half, if they don't get a resolution for changing it from suicide to homicide or accident, they have to live with that? This is ridiculous - The guy is living and breathing - THIS IS WHY THIS Government is so screwed up. Seriously.

Darwin's choice

And yet, people think the government can handle Health Care? Hahahaha!!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

You beat me to it, broadly. I was just going to post:

[Insert ACA parallel here.]

Our government can't even handle itself and obviously 17% of it is "non-essential". Oh for the day when our Federal government is boring and innocuous because it only focuses on the few things it was meant to do instead of over-saturating itself with every little detail of our lives. Leave that for the states and municipalities. I want the people possibly playing with my life as it were a toy only a few hours away and to compete with only a few million other people instead of 310+.

Venting complete.

grumpy

You now have sanity in your view of the federal gov't and it's actual limitations. The federal gov't and those who wish federalism for all, may not like it but it is but they are being proven lacking in ability to run everything. Welcome to sanity in gov't when you wish for state and locval control.

MrHat

I was unaware that the Hancock County court in Findlay was part of the "Federal Government". Thanks for clearing that up. I can also see an undeniable parallel between this ruling and Obamacare. They are obviously the exact same thing. Apples and oranges? They're both roundish, they're both fruits, and they both come from trees. That makes them identical.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

That court is obviously not a part of the Federal Government. Between my use of the word broadly when agreeing with the above and the other words parallel and venting I figured that the context for my point was framed beginning, middle, and end. Instead of making an absurd literal comparison I was both venting in a non-hurr-durr way as well as invoking imaginations over whatever court battles may come of the ACA. If my point above somehow convinced someone that it is a lemon law then I am disappointed as that wasn't the point. There are much better ways to do it than an obviously stated broad vent invoking the unknown.

Stop It

If he's legally dead, someone can kill him right now today and not have any problem with the law? I want to see that.

Darwin's choice

Actually,if someone killed him,they would be guilty of murder. A nameless victim. However, if he were to commit a crime of somekind, such as a robbery, it would get very interesting!!

Slacker

He meant to say that he was still a "dead beat"

MiddleRight

So if he pulled out a gun and shot the judge in the leg, they would have to declare him alive in order to charge him with anything, right?

The SS benefits argument is stupid. Just make the ruling that no future SS benefits will be paid for him. Then no harm to his wife and kids, but no seconds either.

grumpy

Also with your example he could collect on what he paid in on after he came back to life. (or at least back to being known to be alive) He gets nothing from his contributions before he left since it was paid to his family. It is the logical solution.