Judge says living Ohio man is legally dead

20131010-095405.jpgOn Monday, an Ohio judge told 61-year-old Donald Miller that he was legally dead. An unusual ruling, considering that Miller was very much alive.

According to The Courier of Findlay, Ohio, Miller had gone to court Monday to try to reverse a 1994 death ruling by the same judge, Allan Davis. Judge Davis had declared Miller dead eight years after the latter had disappeared from his rental home.

Despite Judge Davis’ acknowledgement that Miller was indeed in the courtroom, and appeared to be in good health, he did not reverse the ruling on the grounds that Miller’s suit came after the three-year legal limit for challenging a death ruling.

“I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned,” Davis said.

Miller’s ex-wife, Robin, had asked for the death ruling from Judge Davis so that Social Security benefits could be paid to the couple’s two children. Though Robin Miller did not testify Monday, she opposed her ex-husband’s petition to reverse the death ruling, saying that she didn’t have the money to pay back the Social Security benefits.

Donald Miller provided few details of what he did between his disappearance and 2005, when he returned to Ohio and was informed of the death ruling by his parents. He described himself as an alcoholic who had lost his job at the time of his disappearance. He told Judge Davis that he had worked odd jobs in Atlanta and Florida to make ends meet, but had not sought treatment for his alcoholism or tried to contact his children.



  1. If the man wants to be declared legally alive again, he should commit a small crime — after having arranged for this to be eyewitnessed by some bystanders and a cop. When the cop arrests him, he should go quietly to court, but plead “Not guilty” and give, as his reason for not being guilty, “I was legally dead at the time, am still legally dead, and the dead cannot be arrested. Therefore, I must be set free. Your choices after that will be either: declare me, retroactively, legally alive (so you can try me) — or keep me legally dead (allowing me to commit more crimes with impunity, unless you send me to prison: in which case, my attorney will challenge the legality of arresting the legally dead. If I am imprisoned and treated as alive — allowed water and food, and so forth — this will be publicized my attorney will then argue that you are _de_facto_ recognizing me as alive & must update my status _de_jure_ as well. If I am imprisoned and treated as dead — not allowed water or food, so that my actual status quickly approaches my legal one — this will be against public policy, at least as much so as it would have been to allow me to commit crime with impunity because I’m legally dead, and this too will be publicized! Such publicity will be to the detriment of the state. Choose as you will!”


    1. The law must require the judge to have the “body” interred or otherwise dealt with. The dead can’t be allowed to litter the streets……even in Ohio.


    2. Sounds like a workable plan… What crime would you recommend for the legally dead? Perhaps mooning a judge in a court of law. Can the legally dead be held in contempt?


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