This is very sad. The manner in which Cannon died, the stupidity of the Smith and Miller, the whole thing is just a shame.
However, a few things stood out when I read this ruling on Miller.
1. He admitted to the over use of klonopin and alcohol the night of the homicide.
2. He has a diagnosis of attention deficit and personality disorder.
3. He claimed to not understand the Miranda rights during the trial.
The argument of him being less culpable is disregarded here but if a 14 yr-old is on a prescribed drug and heavily intoxicated, with a diagnosis of attention deficit and personality disorder, how does this make him as culpable as an adult? He is asked during the trial “what part of the Miranda rights did you not understand”. He stated, “The right to remain silent”. The prosecutor asks “what did you not understand in that statement”. Miller answers, “I just did not pay attention”. Hello? Red flag here? Either the diagnosis is for real or it is not for real. What is it?
Furthermore, Dr. Goff testified that he tested Miller to see if he actually understood his Miranda rights and found he did not. This was not considered binding because the state claimed Dr. Goff did not use the exact language used in the juvenile Miranda rights read to Miller by the officer. Here we go again. This is why there should always be a lawyer present for children and adolescents this young. It should be mandatory.
What I get from what I am reading is that this boy was poor, uneducated, and his mom was naive. This is clear when you read that she stepped out while Miller talked with the officer. No one really knows the magnitude of a seasoned officer up against a guilty teenager that can’t remember for certain the events of the night in question because he was on drugs and over drank. As for Miller’s mom, even if she understood “the right to an attorney”, I am certain she likely thought she could not afford one. This is a failure in communication.
Since drugs are illegal and drinking alcohol at 14 years-old is also, would it not make sense to charge him with underage drinking, illicit drug use, theft and manslaughter??? At worst second degree murder? There was an indication of theft when going to Cannon’s home, no indication of premeditated murder. Clearly, the three over drank and the death was the result of intoxication and over use of a prescribed drug, and possible illicit drugs as well. Add attention deficit and personality disorder to the mix and you have a time bomb.
The statement to the school-counselor, Officer McWhorten is just wrong but what seems clear is the lack of good counsel. The arguments had weight, but were not considered because of the failure of the defense to object to them while they occurred. Not fair to the defendant. I can go on but I don’t want to bore anyone.