Image default
Crime & Courts

Mica Miller Saga: Deal Reached On Personal Effects

Family advocates for ‘Mica’s Law’ to expand domestic violence statutes in South Carolina …

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The family of the late Mica Miller reached an agreement with her estranged husband – Myrtle Beach pastor John-Paul Miller – regarding the release of Miller’s personal effects in the wake of her suicide on April 27, 2024. The parties reached their agreement ahead of a family court hearing originally scheduled as part of the couple’s pending divorce.

That process began when John-Paul Miller was served with divorce papers less than forty-eight hours before his late wife’s death.

Mica Miller’s family are represented by attorney Regina Ward. During a press conference outside of the Horry County courthouse in Conway, S.C. this afternoon (June 5, 2024), Ward said that even if the hearing had occurred, family court judge Jan Bromell Holmes would have only entertained written arguments.

Support FITSNews … SUBSCRIBE!

***

The parties agreed Mica Miller’s family would receive custody of possessions for which they had previously petitioned the court – including “her personal cell phone, her purse, whatever’s inside her purse, her vehicle and whatever’s in her vehicle.”

According to Ward, John-Paul Miller and his legal counsel will be given access to the contents of Mica’s electronic devices.

The parties have also agreed to a restraining order preventing the divestiture of assets without the permission of the court as litigation related to their proper division continues – as well as orders preventing parties from contacting one another or entering each other’s residences or workspaces.

Ward called the orders “formalities that are put into place to protect all parties,” emphasizing that the family have “not had any problems with Mr. Miller trying to contact anybody or anybody trying to violate any of these terms.”

(Click to View)

(FITSTube)

***

Ward touched on the national attention Mica Miller’s case has received since it was exclusively reported on by this media outlet last month.

“We have been so impressed and and just so happy with people who have taken interest in this case,” Ward said, citing “people who have given us tips and who have sent us information and guided us through various avenues where we were looking for answers.”

However, she added “there is still a lot to be done here.”

FITSNews asked Ward about the possibility of Miller’s family pursuing civil action to further investigate the cause of Mica Miller’s death.

“We’re collecting information to determine whether that will happen,” she said. “I have been retained for that specifically, but right now we’re just in a research and investigative phase.”

***

A press conference attendee wears a wristband with the #JusticeForMica hash tag. (Dylan Nolan/FITSNews)

While the family had few other legal updates, they came to Wednesday’s press conference prepared to zealously advocate for the adoption of coercive control domestic violence statutes – a legal framework adopted in multiple European nations as well as states such as California, Massachusetts and New Jersey. This framework expands the definition of domestic violence to include behavior which, according to legislation already filed in South Carolina “makes a person subordinate or dependent by isolating the person from sources of support, exploiting the person’s resources and capacities for personal gain” and “depriving the person of the means needed for independence, resistance, or escape.”

Ward cited bills introduced by S.C. Freedom Caucus chair representative RJ May III (H. 3621) and state senator Katrina Shealy (S. 927) which would make coercive control a felony – and expressed her displeasure that neither bill got especially far in the legislative process.

“It got referred to the judiciary committee,” she said. “Now normally when it gets there, there should be a subcommittee that is assigned to take that particular bill to study it, to review it, to bring in whatever advisors or other professionals to help craft that bill and put it into hopefully its perfect form. (But) it went to the judiciary committee in the House and never went any further. I can’t find where it was assigned to anyone or anything.”

Ward ascribed blame for the bill’s failure to advance in the Senate to Horry County lawyer-legislator Luke Rankin.

“Rankin has the ability to assign this bill to a subcommittee, he has the ability if he wanted to put it on his agenda and walk it all the way through and make sure it gets done,” she said. “This bill has been put in a folder and a dust covered box in a back corner of the closet in the judiciary committee’s office. I challenge them to go back there and find it and bring it out.”

***

A press conference attendee wears a shirt calling for “Justice for Mica.” (Dylan Nolan/FITSNews)

Coercive control legislation departs dramatically from the definition of domestic violence currently enforced in most states by expanding the crime to include a number of behaviors that fall outside of striking an intimate partner.

Those behaviors include “isolating a person from the person’s friends and family, depriving a person of basic needs, monitoring a person’s time, monitoring a person via online communication tools or using spyware, taking control over aspects of a person’s everyday life, including where the person can go, who the person can see, what a person may wear, and when a person may sleep, depriving a person access to support services, including medical services, repeatedly putting a person down, enforcing rules and activity which humiliate, degrade, or dehumanize the person and forcing a person to take part in criminal activity.”

The legislation which stalled in South Carolina also included several current crimes which could lead to coercive control charges – including rape and threats of physical harm.

Critics call this form of legislation unenforceable.

“In reality, it would be almost impossible to prove coercive control in a court of law” said British journalist Julie Bindel prior to the UK’s implementation of the framework in 2015. Bindel said this inherent lack of enforceability “means that only the most extreme cases will be acted upon.”

“Most women who report it therefore will be left with the already widely held belief that those who report domestic violence are exaggerating or unhinged,” she said.

Bindel’s prediction proved prescient when U.K. news outlet The Bureau of Investigative Journalism conducted an exhaustive study of the enforcement of the laws two years into their existence. Law enforcement respondents called charges “hard to achieve” and “challenging to prove.”

Implementations of the framework in the United States are still too new to draw conclusions from, but those interested in learning more about the roots of this framework should read professor Evan Stark‘s 2007 book Coercive Control, which spurred the movement for this form of legislation. The interview below more expeditiously explains Stark’s theory.

(Click to View)

Sociologist Evan Stark (Via: Rutgers University)

While Ward didn’t definitively say the legislation would have saved Miller, explosive filings have alleged John-Paul Miller had his wife illegitimately committed to a mental healthcare facility, surreptitiously tracked her vehicle with a GPS device and took control of her electronic accounts prior to her taking her own life.

Other filings have alleged varying degrees of abuse by John-Paul Miller in his marriage to Mica Miller – while his first wife, Alison Williams, has filed a complaint in family court alleging a host of other claims.

Count on our media outlet to keep our audience up to speed on the very latest developments related to this case – as well as the status of any legislation introduced in the S.C. General Assembly related to Mica Miller.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: Travis Bell)

Dylan Nolan is the director of special projects at FITSNews. He graduated from the Darla Moore school of business in 2021 with an accounting degree. Got a tip or story idea for Dylan? Email him here. You can also engage him socially @DNolan2000.

***

WANNA SOUND OFF?

Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.

***

Get our newsletter by clicking here …

*****

Related posts

Crime & Courts

John-Paul Miller Tells His Side Of The Story

Jenn Wood
Crime & Courts

SLED K9 Killed In Shootout

FITSNews
Crime & Courts

Mainstream Media Picks Up Deon Tedder Investigation

Will Folks

2 comments

J Doe June 5, 2024 at 11:31 pm

So now we are cool doing things like California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey?

You know what those states have in common? They are run by Democrats. They are also significantly safer for women and children.

Reply
Avatar photo
The Colonel Top fan June 6, 2024 at 2:19 pm

Odd,

California is the state where women are most likely to experience sexual violence (Mass is #9)- South Carolina ain’t in the top ten…
California has the highest rate of child sex trafficking in the country. According to the Trentonian, Jersey has a real problem with child sex trafficking as well – South Carolina ain’t high on that list either.

It all depends on what you mean by safer. SC’s male on female murder rate is abysmal (41 in 2020) but Cali’s 222 is no prize and ranks them as number 2 in the nation (“as a percentage of the population” calculations don’t matter to dead people.)

Reply

Leave a Comment