Miron Sentenced To One Year In Jail, $55,000 Fines
What may be the final chapter in 2009 Powerball winner Douglas Miron's long legal battle to stay out of prison was written in the Marinette County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan. 10, when he was sentenced to spend one year in jail, serve four years of probation, and pay total fines of $55,000 as a result of charges that were originally filed against him on Aug. 20, 2015 and amended in October of 2016.
Miron, 51, is to serve his jail term, hopefully in the Oconto County Jail, with Huber Law privileges. He is to report on Saturday, April 1, and will be given credit for the one day he has already spent in Marinette County jail. He was sentenced to a total of 40 months in prison and 30 months of extended supervision, but that provision was stayed provided he complies with all the terms of his extended supervision. He was ordered to obtain and maintain employment or pursue an occupation, given permission to leave the state with permission from his Department of corrections officer.
The sentences imposed by Door County Circuit Judge Todd D. Ehlers were in accord with recommendations of both prosecution and defense attorneys, who agreed that Miron's offenses did not warrant prison time.
Ehlers said a decision as to which jail Miron will serve in will be up to the sheriffs involved, but he hopes Oconto County will accept him. Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve has expressed concern that Miron's incarceration in that jail could cause some problems for the jail staff and other prisoners because his brother, David Miron, is a Marinette County judge.
The penalties included $10,000 fine and a year in jail for the Felony 1 stalking count involving former employee Britney Carlson; the stayed 70-month prison sentence and a $25,000 fine for Felony G second degree recklessly endangering safety count, and $10,000 fines for each of the two misdemeanor counts, one for intentionally pointing a firearm at a person and the other for obstructing an officer. The original charges date back to 2011 and 2013. Miron also was ordered to pay $2,052 restitution to Marinette County for costs involved.
He also ordered Miron to have no contact with complainants Britney Carlson (now Hanneman), Melissa Stone, Derek Anderson, Sarah Campbell and Robert Poquette.
Miron's troubles appeared to start after he won the $33 million Powerball jackpot in 2009 and accepted an $11.2 million cash payout.
Both defense and prosecuting attorneys agreed that Miron had been extremely generous with the money he won.
Miron had entered no contest pleas in October to the four counts in the amended complaint. This was a reduction from the original 10 counts, filed on Aug. 20, 2015. Miron had initially entered not guilty pleas on all counts. Prosecuting Attorney Christopher A. Liegel of the Wisconsin Attorney General's office in Madison told the court that the amended complaint was based on amended information.
Judge Ehlers accepted Miron's no contest pleas on the four amended complaint charges in October, found him guilty in accord with the pleas, and set the Jan. 10 sentencing date. He continued Miron's $10,000 bond and the conditions that went with it.
Miron told Ehlers at the sentencing that he turned down his chance for a trial and entered the no contest pleas in order to prevent causing more worry for his parents, who feared the consequences if he were sent to prison. He said some of the complaints against him by the alleged victims were not true. "I did nothing but help those people (the Carlson family). I did nothing but help those people. I treated them like my own family.)
His father, Dan Miron, is a former Marinette County District Attorney, and his brother, David Miron, is a Marinette County Circuit Court judge. Liegel was assigned to handle the prosecution after Marinette County District Attorney Allen Brey and his staff recused themselves from the case. Ehlers was assigned after Marinette County Judges Miron and James Morrison recused themselves. Because of the distances involved, many of the previous court proceedings were done by video conference.
Despite an extremely snowy day with hazardous driving conditions, Ehlers, Defense Attorney Greg A. Petit of Menasha and Prosecuting Attorney Christopher A. Liegel of the Wisconsin State Attorney General's office in Madison were all present in person on Tuesday, along with Miron and numerous members of the Miron family.
In brief proceedings immediately following the sentencing, complainant Derek Anderson was awarded $86.05 for expenses connected with testifying at a John Doe Hearing in Brown County Court connected with his case. Two claims for damages sought by Britney Carlson Hanneman, the girl Miron was accused of stalking, were dismissed. Neither complainant was in the courtroom. Liegel said both Carlson/Hanneman and had been informed that they had a right to be there, and had failed to return numerous phone calls placed by the victim witness coordinator.
Miron was initially charged in August of 2015 with nine felony offenses and one misdemeanor count from alleged offenses dating back between Jan. 1, 2011 and Feb. 20, 2014.
The original charges with maximum penalties included stalking, $10,000 fine and/or 3.5 years in prison; burglary with intent to commit a felony, $25,000 fine and/or 12.5 years in prison, six separate Class F felony counts of first degree recklessly endangering the safety of another, each with possible fines of $25,000 and up to 12.5 years in prison; perjury, $10,000 and/or up to six years in prison; and one Class A misdemeanor count of intentionally pointing a firearm at a person, $10,000 fine and/or nine months in jail.
No one spoke for or against Miron at the sentencing hearing, but Ehlers said he had received letters on his behalf from his mother, Rose Miron; his father Dan Miron, friends Matthew Brown, Tabitha Stockman and Jodi Nelson and several brothers, sisters and in laws.
Liegel said Carlson and Anderson had been notified that as a victims they had a right to be present but were not there. He added that the Marinette County Victim Witness Coordinator had left numerous messages but phone calls were not returned. Poquette had spoken with the Victim Witness Coordinator and told her he would not be present.
He said the sentencing provisions were joint recommendations from himself and Petit. He added a request that during his probation period Miron be ordered ot maintain appropriate employment or volunteer work keeping him busy no less than 20 hours a week, and that he designate a single place as his primary residence, although that could change from time to time if he wished. Miron currently lives at N5492 Hwy. 180 outside of Marinette.
Before the sentencing, Petit reviewed some of the offenses for which Miron was charged, including what appeared to be an obsession with Carlson, who was 16 when she first went to work for him, "just a fraction of his 49 years." He said at one point Miron poured gasoline on himself and asked her to set him on fire if he could not be with her.
He said the second count of endangering safety involved a high speed chase involving Miron in his Ferrari and Carlson and her then boyfriend, Anderson, in a car that Miron had given her; Count 3 involved pointing a gun at Poquette at the McDonald's drive through, and Count 4, obstructing an officer, involved false testimony Miron had given about the offenses included in Count 2.
Petit described Miron's character as "high," and said he has extended a helping hand to friends and strangers alike. "He was sometimes a very good person, and at other times willing to exploit a person," and added that although sometimes Miron's behavior "is simply not the behavior of an adult, ...I do not believe Mr. Miron is an evil person."
He said Miron also is not without ambition. He had attempted to open the bar/restaurant where Carlson and some of her family members were employed and is a talented chain saw artist, "but he has the ability to do more and should do more."
He pointed out that Miron had only one prior criminal conviction, although there was an OWI in 2003, had thrown a beer glass at a girl friend in 2000, and was accused but not convicted of disorderly conduct after a series of disputes with another ex-girl friend.
"He does not have to be the man pictured in these complaints," Petit declared.
Liegel argued that while Miron did not deserve prison, he did need "a taste of what prison might be like if he does not follow through" on compliance with terms of probation. "A person's actions and choices should have consequences....this is not a prison case, but it will be a prison case if he again decides to transgress the law."
Liegel said Miron was truly out of control after he won the lottery, "to some degree his wealth caused his problem."
"It's clear that Mr. Miron's life changed after he won the lottery in 2009," Petit said, "but it didn't change him. he was always a man who wore his heart on his sleeve." He said it's true that Miron sometimes exploited the victims, but they also exploited him, "they baited him and he took the bait."
He had photos showing only minor damage to the vehicles involved in the high speed chase and vehicle bumping incident, with damage so minor that officers didn't even bother to take pictures. He said the action was wrong, but not as violent as depicted in the complaint.
As to the Poquette incident. Miron now has a $40,000 judgment against Poquette for money the man owed him.
As to Miss Carlson, at the time of the alleged stalking she was living in a house owned by Miron, and a year after she turned 18 she was able to buy a house, and her only employer was Miron.
"Mr. Miron was a soft touch for stories and he did help a lot of people," Petit declared." He admitted that Miron does have a temper, but in the year and a half he has been released on bond he had had no brushes with the law and no contact with the victims. He said Miron has never had a bad work ethic, and has given away millions of his lottery winnings, without even including donations to the rescue squad and other organized charities.
Petit said Miron sent Carlson's brother Corey Stone for treatment at a rehab center and paid for it, and said there was a letter from Stone stating that Miron had saved his life.
"He wanted to have a good time and he wanted to share with his friends," Petit said. "He gave jobs to people without work, and for a time he had five or more Carlsons working for him."
He said the $55,000 in fines may appear small for someone who won millions, but for Miron it will have a more tangible effect than it looks because he has very little cash left.
Judge Ehlers confirmed that each attorney had over 20 years' experience, Liegel as a prosecuting attorney and Petit as a defense attorney. This contributed to his decision to concur with their joint recommendation.
"I understand I may have done the wrong thing," Miron said In a brief statement prior to sentencing, but added that much of what Carlson and others said about him "is simply not true."
"If someone tries to kill you, you go after them," he added, but continued, as to the Carlsons, "I've done nothing but help those people. I treated them like my own family..... I've learned a lot!"
Ehlers said Miron comes from a well respected family and obviously has a lot of family support. He has been hard working, in view of that and lack of a criminal record, "This isn't a prison case."
In her letter to the court, Miron's mother had alleged that when her son stopped giving money to the Poquettes and the Carlsons they came after him. Ehlers said he does "not like victim bashing," but agreed, "I do appreciate the fact that the Carlsons and Poquette were taking what he gave them." Still, he felt victims should not be put on trial at a sentencing hearing.
He reminded Miron he had entered a plea, when there could have been a trial, "and this is not the place to air the Carlson's dirty laundry."
He said much of Miron's behavior during the time before the charges were filed had been that of a teenager or 20-year-old, not a 50 year old man, but added he had obeyed terms of his bond conditions, and expressed confidence, "I'm sure your whole family will continue to monitor your behavior."
He declined to specify the 20 hours per week of employment, but said he would require an occupation and leave the time up to the probation agent, along with permission for travel outside the state.
At the restitution hearing that followed the sentencing Liegel presented requests on behalf of Carlson and Poquette, but did not do so vehemently. He said they could and should have been present, and Judge Ehlers agreed. Poquette had claimed restitution of hourly wages of $43.05 per hour for eight hours at the John Doe hearing, but failed to return Leigel's phone calls for proof of that amount. Judge Ehlers decided to allow the eight hours, but at the legal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, plus mileage, for a total of $86.
Carlson had sought $15,000 restitution for a 2008 Pontiac that Petit felt was worth possibly half that amount. Later discussion showed Miron had given her the vehicle, and after the collision authorities returned it to him because she had never had it titled in her name. On the title papers she had filled out but not sent in she listed her purchase price as $1,200. Judge Ehlers denied that claim. He also denied her claim for return of a moped that Miron had allegedly given to her.
Ehlers denied both of Carlson's claims. He said the state places a burden of proof responsibility on the claimants, and since she chose not to be present he could not rule in her behalf.
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