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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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."
Barsotti is a free-lance writer.