Res Ipsa Loquitur

These realizations reinforced his own beliefs about tolerance and acceptance, grounding the values that help him work for justice. Miller also acknowledges that there are other lessons that molded him. He studied history at Moravian; despite his slow start, he was the 1996 winner of the History Prize. In the classroom, Miller began to see the connections. "Robert Stinson once told me that history is a written science," Miller said. Curtis Keim gave him a solid understanding of African history and politics. And Dennis Glew helped him master Latin and legal concepts like res ipsa loquitur—"the thing speaks for itself."

As his career path became evident, Miller realized that it was Janet Loengard who gave him encouragement; Curt Keim who helped him gain self-confidence; Robert Stinson who helped him write as a good lawyer must; and Dennis Glew who gave him friendship.

And that's what gives him the courage to pursue justice. Every JAG officer assigned to a base-level legal office is responsible for prosecuting any criminal case that comes up on the base, Miller explained. In his 21/2 years on the Air Force JAG staff, Miller has prosecuted 15 cases. He can give a play-by-play of the legalities and logistics involved in the process of courts-martial. He knows how to decipher ROI's (Reports of Investigation) and how to apply the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He can talk at length about how he prepares for his trials, though he can't, according to legal ethics, give many details of the trials themselves.

But the closing is the most difficult part of the trial, Miller said. "It is an art. It's where you tie together everything that's been brought out at trial. You now get to address the defense. You have to make a good argument." Miller said occasionally someone will let you know that you've made a strong case. "But the best indicator is when you get what you were after," he said.

Most of Miller's cases have involved drugs or some other breach of military standards. "It's hard sitting there," Miller said, "prosecuting young people for making mistakes, because we've all made mistakes." Yet Miller realized early that he couldn't take his cases personally. "We represent the government: we just put on our case," Miller said. He feels confident that he can carry out his duties without bias and prejudice, and that he can approach his cases objectively. "Before every case," he said, "I'll go into my office, I'll shut the door, and I'll pray." Though the words may vary, he prays, "No matter what I do here, let the truth prevail."

In his very first court-martial, Miller knew he had to be objective, effective, and persuasive. He was the prosecuting trial counsel for the U.S. Air Force. He was fighting for the rights of the victim and for justice. Though his inexperience was a stumbling block at the beginning of the trial, he found the skill and confidence to make his case during the closing, and, in his view, justice prevailed.

Miller now serves as a labor law attorney at Los Angeles AFB, providing due process for civilian employees who are involved in legal disputes at the base. His time is divided between labor litigation and criminal cases, which limits his time on the beach. But that's not a big problem for Miller. "Every litigator's dream is to have a lot of casework," he said. "We're like pilots who want to get a lot of hours in the cockpit," he explained. "We want to get our hours in the courtroom. "That's where you can pick up things. That's where you develop your own style."

After that—well, he is still honing that dream. "I wonder what it would be like to be a general, mayor of New York City, or a senior partner at some huge New York law firm," Miller said. "I trust that God will put me right where I'm supposed to be."

D.A. Barsotti is a free-lance writer.

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