A Boggs Township man did not win his battle against the Centre County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday.
Michael Miller was convicted in 2015 of eight counts of reckless endangerment and one count of animal cruelty after shooting a neighbor’s dog in 2014.
On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Superior Court posted its affirmation of Centre County President Judge Thomas King Kistler’s opinion in the case, upholding the sentence of up to 23 1/2 months.
Miller raised issues about an “improper statement of personal opinion” by District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, who has taken a well-publicized hard line on crimes against animals. The court decided her statement “I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t think (Miller) was guilty” was an “isolated remark practically lost during hourlong closing argument,” and was a “fair response” to the defense’s assertion that she “overcharged” him in the case.
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The superior court also disagreed with the idea that Kistler had erred in not granting a new trial on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.
That issue was raised due to a motion regarding a veterinarian’s report. Kistler originally granted a motion from the defense barring the veterinarian from testifying as an expert. Parks Miller later had her “supplement (the) report with language to indicated opinion” based on professional certainty and asked the court to reconsider. The superior court said that was not an attempt to subvert the process.
That was not the only issue raised to Kistler, who had also ruled on allegations of ethical violations by Parks Miller, who had represented Miller in a previous criminal matter before becoming district attorney. Kistler said that issue should have been raised before or during trial.
“We are pleased by the Superior Court’s decision,” Parks Miller said in a statement. “This defendant put young children in grave danger when he callously shot his neighbor’s dog, and this community simply cannot stand for that.”