The filmmaker is seeking a Christmas miracle to walk free from jail, just nine months into a two-year sentence relating to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones, who was hit and killed by a train while shooting footage for the now-abandoned Allman Brothers biopic, Midnight Rider, on railroad tracks in Wayne County, Georgia in 2014.

Miller initially pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass, but subsequently changed his plea in March (15), before he was due to go to trial, in exchange for similar counts to be dropped against his wife, producer Jody Savin.

His lawyers filed papers for an early release on the grounds of good behaviour earlier this month (Dec15), while also revealing Miller has been suffering from suspected symptoms of congestive heart failure and other problems behind bars.

A hearing had been set to take place in Wayne County Superior Court on Wednesday (23Dec15), but the court date has since been pulled. Instead, the prosecutors and defence attorneys will submit their arguments on paper to the judge overseeing the case, who will then issue a ruling, reports

Miller's bid for release was met with opposition from members of the general public, who launched a petition online urging Wayne County Sheriff John Carter to deny his request, claiming "his actions represent a dangerous attitude in the entertainment industry and it is important to all those who work in the industry that an example is made of his callous negligence".

Production on Midnight Rider was shut down indefinitely following the tragedy, which also left eight other crewmembers injured.