Domestic dispute case heads to court

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There will be no plea in a case against a Craig doctor who faces two felony charges stemming from a January domestic dispute with his wife. It will be heard by a jury.

Joel Miller, 46, was char-ged with second-degree as--sault, a Class 4 felony, and menacing with a real or simulated weapon, a Class 6 felony.

Miller originally was char-ged with a misdemeanor third-degree assault, but after reviewing evidence, the District Attorney's Office increased the charges.

Miller has been a doctor at Craig Medical Center for two years.

A plea hearing was held Tuesday in district court, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. Miller pleaded not guilty to both charges. A three-day jury trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 9, 2006.

Assistant District Attorney Amy Fitch said she could not comment about the specifics of what happened with the plea agreement, but she said Miller could face two to six years in the Department of Corrections and three years' mandatory probation if convicted.

According to court documents, Miller's wife, Peggy, said the couple had a verbal argument. She said Joel became very angry and tried to strangle her and said he would kill her.

Miller's attorney, Gerald Young, wrote in a previously written statement that the warrantless court affidavit tells only one side of the story.

"Dr. Miller adamantly denies the charges which have been filed against him in this case," Young wrote. "That information represents nothing more than one side of the story made by one person involved in a two-person incident."

Miller initially received his Colorado medical license in July 1994. It was set to expire at the end of May.

According to the Colorado Medical Board's Department of Regulatory Agencies, Miller has renewed his license.

Susan Miller, program director for the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners, said Miller could face a variety of reprimands -- ranging from a public reprimand to a complete loss of his license -- if convicted.

"Until a final outcome," she said, "we don't have a lot to go on."

Joel Miller will next be in court Oct. 12 for a pre-trial conference.

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