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Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

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Living by the Letter of the Law

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George | 1 Comment


Typically when someone announces that someone else is dead to them, there’s a certain amount of drama or bitterness attached to the statement. Not so in Ohio. There it’s not personal, just business…legal business.

Back in the 1980s, Donald Eugene Miller Jr. pulled a Crater, leaving behind his wife and kids. Eight years later, in 1994, his former wife, Robin Miller, had Miller declared dead and proceeded to collect social security benefits. (At that point, Miller owed Robin $26,000 in child support.) The thing is, Miller wasn’t nearly as dead as everyone was led to believe. He had been in Florida and Georgia, and had no idea that he had been ruled dead until he returned to Ohio in 2005. Miller was seeking to have his social security number reinstated and to get a driver’s license.

What did the court say to this allegedly dead man? No dice. In Ohio there’s a three-year limit for reversing a death ruling. In the words of Judge Allan Davis, “I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned.”  Just in time for the 31st, we now have a new definition for living dead.

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One Response

  1. Evan Guthrie says:

    Funny how strange things can get in family law sometimes.