Bail is reduced for SLO teacher

55-year-old arrested over criminal threats must agree to wear a tracking device

nwilson@thetribunenews.comMay 3, 2012 

A San Luis Obispo High School teacher on leave who is accused of making threatening remarks in an email to the teachers union in March had his bail reduced Thursday to $100,000.

Brian Sanford Miller, 55, who taught in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District for 26 years, had been in custody in the San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

He has pleaded not guilty in San Luis Obispo Superior Court to two felony counts of making criminal threats and a misdemeanor of interfering with peaceful conduct of the activities at a school.

San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy said as a condition of the bail reduction, Miller, if he makes bail, will be required to wear an electronic tracking device around his ankle, have a GPS tracking device in his car, avoid contact with district school personnel and stay away from school property.

People who are associated with the school district who may be interested in initiating communication with Miller may do so, however, Duffy ruled.

Miller allegedly threatened his own life and the lives of three others in his email March 28 that expressed anger against the district’s administration in particular.

His attorney, Ken Cirisan, said that his client is a popular teacher who has made a difference in the lives of many students over the years. Several people wrote letters to the court in support of Miller, Cirisan said.

Miller’s mental health condition was evaluated by psychologist Brandi Mathews, who determined that he’s suffering from anger management and depression issues, according to Cirisan.Police also didn’t find any weapons in his home after a search, Cirisan said.

“He understands that he won’t ever teach in the community again,” Cirisan said. “He’s extremely embarrassed by this.”

Cirisan argued for a release on Miller’s own recognizance, saying his client was hoping to work out a retirement plan with the district.

San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Karen Gray argued to keep the bail, but said that if bail were lowered she wanted to ensure a monitoring device would track Miller’s whereabouts.

“There are a lot of frightened people in the school district,” Gray said. “He made threats of going postal.”

Duffy warned Miller that if he’s released, Miller needed to be mindful of his behavior or risk being sent back to County Jail.

“People are frightened,” Duffy said, “and you need to be very conscious of that.”

Miller responded that he’s well aware of that and would obey the orders. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Miller was still in custody.

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