OGDEN — “I never dreamed in a million years that I would be an addict,” Tony Miles told an Ogden courtroom, his hands shackled and unable to wipe the tears from his eyes.
Miles, an Ogden-based attorney, thanked Judge Jennifer Valencia Wednesday morning for the past 25 days he’s spent in jail, saying they were among the worst and best days of his life. Valencia ordered Miles to be held in jail without bail after he was arrested in December on drug-related charges for the third time in the past two years.
He told the court that he became addicted to pain medications after a hand injury, and began to self-medicate after the doctor prescribing his medications died of a heart attack.
Miles, appearing with his attorneys James Retallick and Richard Gallegos, placed the blame squarely on himself, saying he was solely responsible for his addiction and his drug arrests.
“I promise with all my heart that I will be successful in drug court,” Miles said. He also talked about his ultimate goal of someday regaining his license to practice law, saying he wants to help those like him battling addiction.
Miles pleaded guilty in recent months to four third-degree felony drug charges stemming from arrests taking place between April 2017 to December 2018. Gallegos asked Valencia to consider his lack of criminal history before sentencing, saying the court can see the nature of his addiction.
Following Miles’ tearful statement, deputy Weber County Attorney Christopher Shaw began to speak, pausing at times after getting choked up.
“If you would’ve told me 20 years ago that I’d be here prosecuting Tony Miles, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Shaw said. “But here we are.”
Shaw said that the state takes no pleasure in prosecuting a colleague, but they have to do their jobs. He could not ignore the fact that Miles had brought drugs into the Weber County Jail in April 2017, leading to the first criminal case against him.
Miles has failed his profession, Shaw said, betraying an oath to uphold the law.
“In my mind, Tony has failed as a defense lawyer,” he said.
Miles has been a bar-accredited attorney in Utah since 1992, according to the Utah State Bar’s website. His bar status is currently suspended pending Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.
Miles’ recommended sentence from Adult Probation and Parole was that he serve 60 days in jail, but Valencia later pointed out that recommendation was issued before Miles’ December arrest.
“Is 60 days in jail enough?” Shaw asked in court.
Valencia later gave an answer to Shaw’s question, saying the 60-day sentence would not suffice, and criticized Miles’ past demeanor toward his charges. She said past hearings have been delayed due to a variety of reasons, one being Miles using his family as an excuse to push back hearings.
“Using your son as an excuse irritates me, using any family members as an excuse to delay irritates me,” Valencia said. “Every person who comes before me has family.”
She said she felt that Miles had manipulated the system to be let out of jail, and later led to his third arrest and two additional felonies against him.
“It is hard for me to believe anything you say,” Valencia said to Miles.
Gallegos told Valencia that all his client wants is to be treated like everyone else. She responded by saying Miles only got to this point since he’s been in jail custody, and officials giving him the benefit of the doubt has only seemed to add to his years as an addict.
Valencia told Miles while it’s helpful to have support from his family, it is his responsibility alone to stay clean and kick his addiction. She said she was willing to suspend Miles’ prison sentence, but added she would not hesitate to throw him into prison if he would be arrested in the future.
She ordered that Miles serve 120 days in jail and be given credit for the 25 days he’s served at the Weber County Jail. After his jail time, Miles will be on probation for 24 months and complete substance abuse and mental health screenings.
Miles’ progress will be reviewed in late March before his case can be transferred to drug court.