Ohio Told Man That He Must Stay Legally Dead

When a dead man is found alive and well (and ahem, not a zombie), does he remain dead? He does, according to Ohio.

Here's the strange story of Donald Miller, who was declared dead, then found alive, then told by a judge that he has to stay legally dead. Confused? Read on.

The story, according to ABC News, began when Donald Miller of Ohio disappeared in 1986 after losing his job. He left behind his wife and two children. Years later, his wife sought to have him declared legally dead so she could collect his Social Security benefits for their two minors. In 1994, Miller was declared dead.

Fast forward to today, when Miller came back to Ohio and tried to re-establish his social security number. He went up to the judge, who said that according to Ohio legal statute, there could be no changes to death rulings after three years have passed.

So, according to the State of Ohio, Donald Miller is (legally) dead and must remain so, despite that the man is still walking around amongst the living.

(Photo: Hancock County Juvenile Court)

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I understand that the payments received by the family are now considered to have been obtained fraudulently because he is alive, and that the payees should be reimbursed. However, the fraud was not committed by the recipients. And ordering them to repay it would only punish them further, while letting him off the hook.

I think a fair and appropriate course of action would be to declare him legally alive, then force him to repay the funds directly to the government and the insurance companies. Then the responsible party is being held accountable and the innocent victims, his family, not only wouldn't have to repay the money, but also wouldn't have to go after him for owed child support.
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I do not think the fact that he is legally dead means he could get away with a crime - it would be more like if someone who was not born in the United States, and therefore did not have a US birth certificate, committed a crime in the United States. The legal person who was declared dead could not be convicted of the crime, but the physical person could still be convicted of a crime and go to jail. This could also be similar to a corporation that commits a crime - corporations can still be convicted of crimes even though they are not living persons.
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I would say if the family received payment for his death, and he turned out to be alive, then the money should be returned to the government, insurance companies, etc...
I assume a life insurance company would want him to be declared alive, and then they'd sue.
I assume he hasn't been filing tax returns for a long time either. So much fraud and irresponsibility.
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That's actually a big part of why the juge ruled that he must stay legally dead. If he's "resurrected," then the family had to repay the dead benefits that they had received.
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