Debra Milke, Who Spent 22 Years On Death Row, Has Murder Case Thrown Out

Debra Milke, Who Spent 22 Years On Death Row, Has Murder Case Thrown Out

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge has dismissed the murder case against an Arizona woman who spent more than 20 years on death row in the killing of her 4-year-old son.

Judge Rosa Mroz ended the case against Debra Jean Milke on Monday after prosecutors lost their last appeal last week.

Milke was convicted of murder in 1990 in the death of her son, who thought he was going to see Santa Claus at a mall only to be taken to a desert by two men and shot in the head.

An appeals court overturned Milke’s conviction in 2013, ruling that prosecutors failed to disclose a detective’s history of misconduct. Her conviction was based entirely on a confession Milke gave to the now-discredited detective.

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Arizona’s highest court earlier this month rejected a bid to retry a woman who spent 22 years on death row for the killing of her 4-year-old son.

The conviction was overturned because prosecutors failed to disclose a history of misconduct by the case investigator.

The Arizona Supreme Court’s decision moved the case against Debra Jean Milke one step closer to being permanently dismissed.

The high court refused to hear an appeal by prosecutors who were appealing a lower court decision that ordered the case dismissed. The state Supreme Court issued its refusal in a brief order that offered no explanation.

Michael Kimerer, one of Milke’s attorneys, said the decision means the case against his client is over, though a judge must first carry out an appeals court’s wishes in dismissing the case.

“This has been 15 years. I’m still in a state of shock that it’s finally over and that justice has finally been done,” Kimerer said.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, whose office pushed the case against Milke, said in a statement that Tuesday’s decision marks “a dark day for Arizona’s criminal justice system.”

Montgomery, whose office hasn’t yet revealed whether it plans to pursue another appeal, said the high court decision deprives victims such as Christopher Milke of their rights to justice.

Debra Milke’s conviction and death sentence were thrown out two years ago by a federal appeals court that ruled prosecutors knew about Phoenix police Detective Armando Saldate’s history of misconduct but failed to disclose it. Multiple court rulings in other cases said the now-retired officer either lied under oath or violated suspects’ rights during interrogations.
Source: Huff Post



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