By Robert Florida
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II announced that Assistant Prosecutor Michele Miller received the Outstanding Victim Advocacy in a Single Case award from the New Jersey County Prosecutors Association (CPANJ).
During CPANJ’s recent conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin presented the award to Miller, who earlier this year prosecuted one of the biggest cases of her 23-year career: Trying Montclair lawyer James Ray for murdering Angela Bledsoe, his live-in girlfriend and the mother of his 6-year-old daughter. After fatally shooting Bledsoe, Ray fled to Cuba but was apprehended by Cuban authorities and returned to the United States to face charges. After six weeks of testimony, the jury deliberated for three hours before convicting Ray of murder.
“Every day, in each of our 21 county prosecutor’s offices, meaningful yet difficult work is taking place prosecuting unimaginable crimes to ensure bad actors are held accountable,” said Attorney General Platkin. “It was my honor to recognize Assistant Prosecutor Michele Miller for her tireless efforts to seek justice for Angela Bledsoe and her family.”
Having waited nearly five years for the trial to begin, a large group of Bledsoe’s family and friends filled the courtroom each day. After the guilty verdict was read, Ray Bledsoe, Angela’s father, said he was thankful to Miller for her “outstanding work.”
“Prosecutor Miller laid out the timeline and the sequence of events simply and clearly for the jury,” he said. “She mastered every detail of the case so that justice was served, which gave our family some solace.”
Miller said it was an honor to have represented the Bledsoe family over the last five years and to finally see them receive the justice they and Angela deserved.
“I am truly humbled to have received this award for victim advocacy,” said Miller. “There is no greater calling for me than to be able to advocate on behalf of victims and their families and it was a privilege to have done so in this case for the Bledsoe family.”
This is not the first time Miller has been honored for helping crime victims. In April 2015, she was honored by then Attorney General John Hoffman for her prosecutorial skills. At that time, she received the Gladiator Award for her outstanding work on behalf of victims.