On the way to winning her first murder trial since being elected Sonoma County district attorney, Jill Ravitch found herself at a momentary loss of words.

She was before the jury, a model gun in her hand, describing how Jarrod Miller, 30, of Cloverdale, loaded his weapon, cocked it and later fired at Tim Neuer, 29, of Alexander Valley.

Suddenly, the normally eloquent prosecutor was tongue-tied.

She struggled for the words for basic gun parts, referring to the chamber as “this part,” bullets as “projectiles,” and the trigger as a “thing-a-ma-jiggy.”

 Polite laughter erupted from the audience and jury before the scene was cut mercifully short by a court recess.

But Ravitch didn’t let it go. Maybe the 20-year litigator wanted to correct the record, which she explained is the guiding authority in a trial. Or maybe she spotted a chance to endear herself to jurors, who later found Miller guilty as charged.

When the jury came back, Ravitch launched a smooth recovery that showed her courtroom chops. 

“I want to clarify a couple of things,” she said, holding the fake gun up to the jury again. “Chamber, trigger, round. I got those words figured out.”

Read the PD story on Miller’s conviction here 



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