James Terrence Miller – Jim – was a mountain of a lawyer, and the soul of the law.
Born in Bessemer, Alabama, he settled in Jacksonville, graduated from the University of Florida, married Carol – incredibly loving and talented – for 31 strong, and went on to become one of the best damn lawyers this state will ever see.
His career began with 15 hard-fought years in the trenches in Gideon’s Army as an Assistant Public Defender. After that came private law firm practice. And after that, freedom – the freedom only a sole practitioner can feel.
Like Selig Goldin, Jim was dedicated to client and cause like none other. Fearless in the courtroom. Revered as the scholar-advocate. Like Selig, Jim was tireless in pursuit of fundamental fairness. For it was justice – elusive, but real – that he, like Selig Goldin, craved.
To realize the dream that is justice for the many unable to fend for themselves, Jim helped to found the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL), the statewide organization devoted to protecting our rights, improving our justice system, and serving as the voice of a unified, inclusive, criminal defense community.
There are 512 reported Florida appellate opinions that bear Jim’s name, tackling near every procedural rule, code provision, and issue of constitutional significance our criminal justice system could muster. In 475 of these he was counsel of record, including half a hundred times in our state supreme court.
In the purest and very best sense, Jim was a friend of the court. No one was above or beneath him. No money or ego could distract him. He was simply a man of principle. Humble. Seeking justice. A defender, through and through. A scholar, professor, musician, naturalist, lawyer, poet, husband, and friend.
And, like Selig, taken from us way too soon.