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The Villages
Thursday, March 16, 2023

Judge contends frail-looking former commissioner showed no remorse

A judge contended Monday that a frail-looking former Sumter County commissioner showed no remorse for the perjury charge for which he has been convicted.

However, the judge released former Commissioner Oren Miller who spent nearly two and a half months behind bars.

Miller appeared to have lost substantial weight as he shuffled into the courtroom in Ocala. His normally short grey hair and clean-shaven face were replaced by longer grey hair and a beard which indicated that he had not seen a barber since he was convicted of perjury on Nov. 18 by a six-person jury. He was wearing a jail-supplied inmate uniform and handcuffs when he took a seat next to his attorney, Dock Blanchard.

Oren Miller appeared in the courtroom wearing handcuffs and a jail uniform
Oren Miller appeared in the courtroom wearing handcuffs and a jail uniform.

Judge Anthony Tatti sentenced Miller to 75 days time served in jail, 36 month probation, a $500 fine plus court costs and 200 hours public service at the Marion County waste disposal facility. Judge Tatti denied Miller’s attorney’s motion for a new trial saying that he had heard the evidence which he believed supported the  jury’s finding that Miller had committed perjury when interviewed by the state attorney’s investigator. The judge seemed angry that Miller’s attorney had sent him social media posts by Villagers regarding Miller’s arrest. These posts alleged that Miller was being “railroaded,” according to Judge Tatti who clearly was perturbed by those posts by Villagers. He shook a fistful of papers in the direction of the defense table while indicating the posts showed no remorse by Miller.

Blanchard presented the testimony of Bryant Fulgham of Bushnell, Joe Camden and Gene McRedmond of The Villages who all testified as to Miller’s reputation for honesty in the community. Fulgham, 18, told how Miller helped him with transportation to the VA hospital while his grandfather had been in the intensive care unit. Gene McRedmond said Miller had organized a relief center for the Village of Orange Blossom Gardens seniors during Hurricane Irma and how he went door-to-door through the development making sure that the elderly were taken alright. He told the Judge that Miller worked 48 hours during that storm to help his neighbors.

Blanchard asked that Miller be sentenced to the 75 days he had already spent in jail. He told the judge that the 72-Year-old Miller had no criminal record and would not require a term of probation. The prosecutor asked the judge to sentence Miller to time served, a fine, 200 hours of public service and 24 months of probation. Judges rarely exceed the sentence requested by prosecutors, but Judge Tatti added 12 months more probation to Miller’s sentence than the prosecutor had recommended.

Miller’s wife, Angie Fox said she was “relieved that he was coming home as Oren was ill in jail” and that she hopes they “have not killed his spirit.” Nearly 30 Villagers attended the sentencing hearing in support of Miller. Many indicated that they felt that Miller had been targeted for his advocacy to raise impact fees on new construction and rollback the 25 percent Sumter County property tax increase on existing homes.

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