Former Jacksonville Jaguar football player, Roy Miller, will continue with the diversion program he was accepted to on April 9th. According to a story on News4Jax, Miller was arrested in November of last year for a charge of Domestic Battery in Jacksonville. He was released on his own recognizance, which means the judge did not require him to post any bond to get out of jail and subsequently appear in court. Miller was placed in what is called the Pretrial Intervention Program, also called “PTI”. Entry into a diversion program is discretionary, meaning that the State Attorney’s Office must make the decision to put you there. People in the diversion program must complete a series of conditions in a certain amount of time. Miller, for example, has to perform community service hours, participate in counseling and pay fees. If the program is completed successfully, the Jacksonville criminal charge will be dropped.
There are a couple of things that make Miller’s case unusual. First, the fact that he was placed in the diversion program to begin with. It is very rare for a criminal defendant to be offered diversion for a domestic battery charge. Although the charge is a misdemeanor and not a felony, obviously it is considered a crime of violence. Diversion programs are usually reserved for non-violent crimes, such as theft crimes. Domestic violence charges in Jacksonville usually do not make the list.
The second unusual part of this case is that the alleged victim, Miller’s wife, petitioned the county court to re-open the case and consider the possibility of kicking Miller out the diversion program. According to the news report, the wife claimed that she was not given the opportunity to speak on her own behalf to the judge. The victim of any case, particularly cases in which violence is alleged, are given the opportunity to address the court before sentence is decided and imposed. These cases are very “victim driven”, meaning what the alleged victim tells the State Attorney’s Office and the Judge presiding over the case are given a lot of weight.