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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Will it hold up?

The latest news in the Who is Jerrod Miller's father saga-

A Palm Beach County judge has ruled that a man who took responsibility as the father of Jerrod Miller -- the Delray Beach teen shot to death last year by police -- is the boy's legal father, which could entitle him to benefit from an expected wrongful-death lawsuit.

The ruling in favor of Kenneth Miller comes despite a DNA test that shows a "99.999 percent" probability that another man, Orlando truck driver Terry R. Glover, is the father of Jerrod and his twin, Sherrod.

Both men claim to be the father of the youths. The ruling, made public Friday, could determine who controls Jerrod's estate, unless it is overturned on appeal. Jerrod's mother died in 2003, so under state law his father is his legal heir.

Florida law gives biological parents the right to represent a child's estate in a wrongful-death case, and Kenneth Miller legally was found to be Jerrod's father in an earlier paternity suit.

Lawyers for the Miller family are expected to file a multimillion-dollar wrongful-death claim against the city.

Kenneth Miller's attorney, T.J. Cunningham, said Miller has always maintained he was the father of Jerrod and Sherrod.

"He's been their father since birth. He has reared these kids. He has been paying child support. He is the only father these kids have ever known. There has never been any question in his mind that he is the father of these kids," Cunningham said. "We are very elated. We felt the judge made the right decision."

Glover's attorney, Patrick Cousins, said the judge's ruling was contrary to established law. "It is also contrary to her prior rulings. She specifically said [the paternity case] had no bearing on our case," said Cousins, who will file an appeal.

Delray Beach's city attorney was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Jerrod was shot in the back of the head by rookie police Officer Darren Cogoni in February 2005, as the unlicensed 16-year-old drove his uncle's Cadillac down a narrow breezeway at the Delray Full Service Center during a dance. Cogoni said Jerrod sped off from a stop and was driving recklessly, endangering other lives. A grand jury declined to file charges against the officer, but Delray Beach police fired him.

Cunningham said the next step in the case would to be to file a wrongful-death suit against the city, along with high-profile Stuart attorney Willie Gary. Cunningham said he didn't know how much he would seek, but previously Gary notified the city the estate would settle the case for $7.5 million.

In her ruling, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Karen Martin found that a 1995 determination in a paternity case that Kenneth Miller is the father of the boys legally outweighs the DNA test.

"Where a legal father has been recognized, the mere fact of a blood test establishing a putative natural father's paternity does not in itself result in a legal termination of the legal father's parental rights," the judge wrote, noting that Glover never moved to set aside that 1995 decision.
The only reason either of these men are in court is because of the potential jackpot they see if a wrongful death verdict or settlement comes about. Since cities in Florida are only liable for $100,000 without a special law from the state legislature, who ever the beneficiary is will won't see much if anything after legal fees and BACK CHILD SUPPORT they owe is paid.

Both Glover and Miller deserved the Knucklehead award I gave them last May. They're just a couple of greedy SOBs.

I do wonder if Judge Martin's ruling will hold up. Kenneth Miller was the legal father but not biologically. To me, Terry Glover would seem to have grounds for an appeal. I see this case ending up in the State Supreme Court eventually. Jerrod Miller is dead, but the stupidity of the men who want to be his father after death lives on.

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