55-year-old James Miller (“Miller”) of Medaryville, was sentenced in Marshall Superior Court 1 by Judge Robert Bowen on April 21. Miller was sentenced after a two-day jury trial on March 23rd and 24th. Miller was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his sister-in-law in which nearly four pounds of methamphetamine were located between his feet on the floorboard of the car.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tami Napier and Deputy Prosecutor Nick Langowski prosecuted the case for the State of Indiana. Defense counsel, Alex Hoover, represented Miller. At the sentencing hearing, the attorneys presented the parties’ suggested sentences to Judge Bowen. Tami Napier argued for an aggravated sentence based on Miller’s extensive criminal history—including felony convictions in Indiana and Michigan, nine different Indiana counties, numerous failed probationary periods, personal and property criminal offenses as well as being a lifelong criminal offender beginning in 1980. Hoover argued that Miller’s substance abuse has been a contributing factor in his criminal history. Tami Napier stated, “James Miller has absolutely no insight into his behavior. Numerous attempts at rehabilitation have failed miserably time and time again.”
The case began in January of 2019 when Sgt. Trent Stouder of the Bremen Police Department stopped a vehicle for speeding and then discovered that the driver, Miller’s sister-in- law, had a suspended license. The vehicle was towed because Miller had no driver’s license. Prior to being towed, consent to search was given and Miller informed Sgt. Stouder that there was nearly 4 pounds of methamphetamine between his feet. Miller further stated that he was delivering it to another person. Miller was going to be paid $500 and a half-ounce of methamphetamine in exchange for delivery
Miller and the driver were arrested at the scene and were taken to the Marshall County Jail. Both were charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with the Intent to Deliver and Possession of Methamphetamine. Tami Napier then charged the Habitual Offender Sentencing Enhancement
In determining an appropriate sentence, Judge Bowen weighed the aggravating and the mitigating circumstances. Judge Bowen meticulously went through Miller’s lifelong criminal history and found it to be a weighty aggravating circumstance—including his numerous felony convictions across Indiana and into Michigan. Judge Bowen imposed an aggravated sentence of thirty years at the Indiana Department of Correction on Count I a Level 2 Possession with Intent to Deliver Methamphetamine and sixteen years on Count II a Level 3 for Possession of Methamphetamine. Both Counts will run together or concurrently. Miller was then given 10 years at the Indiana Department of Correction on the Habitual Offender Sentencing Enhancement which must be served consecutively (or after) the time imposed on Counts I and II.
Napier said “The amount of methamphetamine in this case was shocking. This case reveals how important traffic law enforcement is in Marshall County. But for Sgt. Stouder making that routine traffic stop, Miller would’ve delivered this poison throughout Indiana. The sentence imposed by Judge Bowen reflects the seriousness of the offense.”