A former attorney who once was the top prosecutor in Sarpy County has died. James P. “Jim” Miller was 67.
Amy Miller, an attorney and legal director of ACLU Nebraska, said her father died Sunday of heart failure related to kidney complications. Miller had struggled with heart disease after suffering a heart attack in the 1990s.
Colleagues knew Jim Miller as an affable, self-deprecating lawyer, even as he came under intense scrutiny.
Voters elected Miller as Sarpy County attorney in 1998, despite a state bar complaint hovering over him.
A former client had complained that Miller charged exorbitant fees while in private practice. The Nebraska Supreme Court agreed, disbarring Miller 11 months after he took office.
Miller was the son of a U.S. paratrooper who landed in Normandy on D-Day.
While stationed in England after the war, Miller's father and namesake married a British woman, May, and the couple brought Jim to the United States when he was 5 or 6, Amy Miller said.
A 1964 graduate of Omaha Central, Jim Miller later became the first of his family to graduate from college, working overnights at a bakery and days at a shoe store to put himself through school.
After earning his history degree, he went to law school at Creighton University, graduating in 1970. He worked as a public defender and in private practice, primarily doing criminal defense work until his election as county attorney.
His most notable defense client was child killer John Joubert. His most notable case as county attorney was the prosecution of six Bellevue teenagers in the stabbing death of their one-time friend, Scott Catenacci.
Amy Miller said her father was one of the smartest people she knew and a voracious reader. He once drove a Geo, but he spent much of his spare time puttering around with and restoring classic cars — Model Ts and Model As.
Married 46 years, Miller and his wife, Cathy, loved to travel and were fierce bridge players.
Four nurses who came to know Miller from his frequent stays at Midlands Hospital in Papillion made a special trip to visit him just before he entered hospice care.
“He was so genial he could have made friends with anyone and could have done anything in life he wanted,” Amy Miller said.
Besides his wife and daughter, Jim Miller is survived by a son, Dan Miller, three grandchildren and a sister, Paulette Love of York, England. His funeral service will be at 11 a.m. today at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Papillion.