LEBANON, Mo. -- The attorney for a physician jailed for resisting arrest after a traffic stop is trying to get her an early release so she can help with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Dr. Ramona Miller of Versailles, Mo., began serving her six-month sentence Aug. 13 for an incident that took place in three years ago in Camden County. On Thursday, attorney Robert Ramsey filed a motion in Laclede County Circuit Court seeking her release. He also tried to appeal in person to Associate Circuit Judge Larry Winfrey Jr. but said the judge declined to see him.
Ramsey said he reserved a Sept. 19 hearing date on the request.
"The hurricane victims are going to have to wait 10 more days for some help from her," Ramsey said. "I saw Ramona in jail today. She'd like to get out and help out with all of this."
Miller appealed her conviction at a trial in February last year and had been free on bond. She went to jail last month after the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled against her.
In his motion, Ramsey cited a "great need for doctors" following last week's hurricane. He included letters from ministers and friends asking that Miller's sentence be commuted so she could work with people evacuated to Missouri in the wake of the storm that has left thousands without homes.
"The clergy have been working with the Red Cross and there is an immense need for qualified physicians," the motion said. "Therefore, the great need for the services of Dr. Miller outweighs the completion of the sentence."
On Aug. 28, 2002, Miller was driving home to Versailles from Springfield, where she worked for St. John's Health System, when deputies stopped her on Highway 5 in Camden County. She was ticketed for speeding, failure to drive on the right side of the road, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and resisting arrest.
At the trial, deputies said Miller was argumentative and combative. She testified that she was fearful that night and that she believed the sheriff's department harassed her in retaliation for her treating an inmate in 2001 and criticizing the medical care at the jail.
A jury found Miller guilty only of resisting arrest.