Curtis Miller is finally free!
When asked how it felt to be released after serving more than 25 years in prison, Curtis said simply, “Amazing!”
We are proud and grateful that Curtis’ life sentence was overturned thanks to efforts in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s new re-sentencing unit, which advocated for his release.
In 1996, Curtis was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for a traffic violation. During the stop, the officer discovered that Curtis had a handgun. Due to his prior criminal record, Curtis was sentenced to life in prison under the Three Strikes law. No other crime was committed, nothing was taken, no one was threatened, and no one was harmed.
Curtis did not let this time go to waste. Over the past two-and-a-half decades he dedicated himself to his rehabilitation, overcoming addiction, and participating in vocational training programs.
Curtis’ excellent prison behavior and the relatively minor nature of his crime made him a prime candidate for Los Angeles DA George Gascón’s re-sentencing program. Under this program, and a new law allowing prosecutors to request new sentences in old cases, Deputy DA Rachel Bodley filed a petition in Superior Court seeking to recall Curtis’ life sentence and asking that he be re-sentenced to just six years—with credit for the 25 years he had already served.
Project staff attorney Milena Blake stepped in as counsel for Curtis, as he represented himself at his trial in 1996. Judge Amy Carter agreed that Curtis’ sentence was excessive and should be reduced. She ordered him immediately released.
Curtis walked out of prison into the arms of his daughter, who brought him straight to a family reunion. After a first meal of freedom surrounded by loved ones, Curtis headed off to his residential reentry program. He told us he was looking forward to spending more time with his family, eating good food, and figuring out how to use his smartphone.
We’re so happy to have played a part in Curtis’ homecoming and look forward to seeing his future successes!
Thank you all.