Bill Montgomery Wants to Retry Debra Milke: Lying Ex-Cop Armando Saldate Monty's Major Handicap

milkeresized.JPG
The testimony that put Debra Milke on death row, now a liability for the state

Can't say I'm surprised that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery wants to retry Debra Milke, whose 1990 murder conviction was recently thrown out by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

After all, the Milke case stirs passions like only the killing of a child can. The state alleged Milke played desert Medea, plotting the murder of her four year-old son Christopher, with the assistance of two losers, one of whom executed the child with three bullets to the back of the head, leaving the body in a wash near Happy Valley Road and 99th Avenue.

Former New Times scribe Paul Rubin covered the crime and the trial in depth. I will not rehash the details, as he hashed them plenty at the time, and followed the case in the years thereafter.

Plus, all you need do is plug the name Debra Milke into your favorite search engine, and you're sure to be overwhelmed.

See Also:
DEATH-ROW DEBBIE NO ONE WANTED TO BELIEVE SHE COULD KILL HER CHILD
Debra Milke's Convictions Overturned in Son's Murder, After Two Decades on Death Row

Many are convinced of her guilt, online and otherwise. No doubt some would would pay to poke her arm with poison.

Hard to imagine Monty, who like all prosecutors fancies himself as tougher on crime than Vlad the Impaler, not pandering to this virtual lynch mob.

But after reviewing the Ninth Circuit's damning decision in the case, which implicates both the county attorney's office and the Phoenix Police Department in the myriad sins of former Phoenix cop Armando Saldate, whose testimony put Milke on death row, I find the public's demand for retribution downright scary.

Read the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision throwing out Milke's murder conviction.

See, the Ninth concluded that the prosecution had withheld so-called "Brady material," which would have aided the defense's case, specifically the information that Saldate had, in the words of the court, "a lack of compunction about lying during the course of his official duties."

Saldate claimed that Milke waived her Miranda rights and confessed to him almost immediately upon interrogation, supposedly admitting that she wanted the kid offed because he was an inconvenience and reminded her of her ex.

The veteran homicide detective didn't tape record the conversation, though a superior had ordered him to do so. He did not have Milke repeat the confession for a tape recording, did not write up her confession and have her sign it.

He didn't have someone else present as a witness. Nor did he have a colleague monitor the interrogation via two-way mirror.

Oh, and he destroyed his notes of the interrogation.

Convenient, eh?

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39 comments
ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Mr. Lemons, Great journalism. Once again, you take the lead on the truth and don't use just what the prosecutors hand you. Decades of malfeasance at the MCAO, under Romley, Levy, disbarred Thomas, and disbarred Aubuchon, just to name a few, demands an investigation by the federal government as the 9th Circuit demanded. Montgomery has shown he'd rather continue down the path they all passed on to him, then to do his job as minister of justice -- seeking fair justice -- instead of that of a sleazy politician that does not want to recognize wrongful convictions and his responsibility to "right the wrongs". 

Bring the trial on and the MCAO's garbage will all come out for the world to see. A long sad history of injustice.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

It's also possible her ex-husband framed her for this murder for hire plot!  He's certifiably crazy. 

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

If you haven't done so, you really need to read the findings of the Federal Appeals Court. Very eye opening on what goes on with the Maricopa County Attorneys Office, Judges and the Maricopa County Superior Court system of Injustice.

Does anyone know who the original Judge and County Attorney was in Superior Court ?...

I believe Romley was the County attorney then. 

Whats amazing is the Arizona Appeals Court also laughed in Milke's face too, further violating her Constitutionals Rights.

F-ing Arizona, Wow...The Arizona Justice System just doesn't have any respect for the Constitution or the laws, which is so obvious as stated in this appeal findings.

Not to mention it appears the State Court was actually working along side with the Prosecutor to continue to violate Milke's Constitutional rights in the post conviction relief efforts.

Fucking scumbags these Prosecutors and Judges are.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Folks, time to get educated on the ethical responsibilities of the prosecutors, who do not want to Amend ER 3.8, since they say they do not need this.

This "little, big man" sounds like a tyrant, not a minister of justice, which IS his responsibility to seek the truth NOT just to convict-at-all cost. Of course, he is following the precedent set by those who proceeded him, who sent innocent people to death row, i.e. Ray Krone.

Is it his West Point military mentality, that is, to "shoot first, and ask later" that he was taught?  

Arizona needs to stop thumbing its nose at the U.S. Constitution. 

Montgomery also needs to study the thousands of wrongful convictions across the nation in the empirical Exoneration Registry 2012, where the innocent were sent to death row, spent decades behind bars, had their convictions overturned. Over 1,100 exonerated since 1989. 

Like Arizona hasn't had wrongful convictions since Ray Krone?  Give us break!  

Prosecutors rarely get disbarred, yet in April 2012, after months of daily disciplinary hearings where all your elected officials, lawyers were heard, the two top prosecutors, disgraced ex-MCAO Andrew Thomas and his chief "charging" prosecutor ex-DCA Lisa Aubuchon were both disbarred for abuse of power and falsely accusing judges, officials, lawyers and newspaper executives.  Careers lost and legal settlements paid out -- by the taxpayers. 

What does one think they did to the "ordinary" people in their over 200,000 FELONY CASES? Consequences of this era will follow Arizona for decades and generations, with the lives and families who were destroyed under this reign of terror.

A very conservative estimate would be 1% innocent = 2,000 men or women are innocent and wrongfully convicted. 10% = 20,000 men or women. Wake up folks!

MCAO Montgomery and his cronies have swept this under the rug and are holding the lid on Arizona's Pandora's Box of shame and horrors, unlike Dallas TX DA Craig Watkins who came into office following a corrupt DA and tried to "right the wrongs". 

MCAO Montgomery should be man enough and have integrity enough to do the same. But then who are his "masters" as he trolls for higher office? Who will be Arizona's next Governor == Montgomery, Tom Horne, or the employer of child molester, Chris Simcox, Doug Ducey?  Great choice folks, in a one-party state, where they cover one another and put the rest in prison for decades or on death row. None have any credibility and have shown they violated the public trust. 

MGM5
MGM5

Milke is showing a lot of guts and determination by not copping a plea. I mean, if she loses they will probably execute her. A lot of people, guilty or innocent, would walk away with "time served" and call it a day. She obviously feels strongly about her innocence.

And one more thing: the bullets in Milke's purse. I read somewhere (here?) that her purse didn't accompany her back to Phoenix from the police facility in Florence. It was said to have been stashed "in a locker" for several weeks before making it's way to Phoenix, thereby opening up a lot of discussion about the cops - or someone - planting that box of bullets in Milke's purse. 

MGM5
MGM5

They have no EVIDENCE on this woman, folks. Zero, nada, zilch. Her trial was a complete travesty. Montgomery would do himself, his office and the state a big favor if he'd just drop this entire  embarrassing abomination. It's Saldate who should be on trial....

bud_1stone
bud_1stone

One more time of the legal system failing to admit they have made an error or gained a conviction via prosecutorial misconduct.  It is common, Recall when DNA testing came out and over a 100 death row convicts were set free.  When they interviewed, it was appalling how many prosecutors were still convinced they were guilty.  They should have been disbarred, head shaved and made to walk down the street backwards pulling a sign saying they were dumbasses and unworthy of pity due to their arrogant evil nature.

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

This really does sum up exactly how corrupt the County Attorneys Office and Justice system is in Maricopa County.

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

If she is retried and the State loses, Montgomery and who ever is the lead prosecutor should have to go to prison for the equal amount of time she served. That would be justice.


But as we all know, there's know such thing as fair and equal justice in the Maricopa County Attorneys Office.

dennis20
dennis20 topcommenter

You mean to tell me that a cop lied under oath? Shocking.  But Montgomery sure is predictable.   Another miscarriage of justice thanks to MCAO is Courtney Bisbee.  

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Mr. Lemons, Great journalism. Once again, you take the lead on the truth and don't use just what the prosecutors hand you. Decades of malfeasance at the MCAO, under Romley, Levy, disbarred Thomas, and disbarred Aubuchon, just to name a few, demands an investigation by the federal government as the 9th Circuit demanded. Montgomery has shown he'd rather continue down the path they all passed on to him, then to do his job as minister of justice -- seeking fair justice -- instead of that of a sleazy politician that does not want to recognize wrongful convictions and his responsibility to "right the wrongs". Bring the trial on and the legal system's garbage will all come out.

marcy
marcy

All cops lie, that their uncorroborated testimony is treated as the truth is shameful. 

lane99
lane99

Thank you for an excellent, though not unbiased, article. It answered some questions I had.  

Meanwhile, Debra Milke is almost certainly guilty, and her lawyer's claim that she won't accept a plea bargain will be seen to have been a bluff if, in a retrial, her confession is set to be admitted or if either of her accomplices agree to testify for the state.  You heard it here first.

@perugiamurderfi

shadeaux14
shadeaux14 topcommenter

This is the damage a crooked cop can do to our justice system. Think what's going to happen if the full criminal activity of the MCSO is ever revealed?

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

Milke may have well killed her child, I have no idea, but if Saldate is the state's best and/or primary witness and this "confessoin" is the state's best and/or primary evidence of such guilt my opinion is that it will be a waste of taxpayer money to move forward in retrying her because of the well documented issues with Saldate's credibility and the highly unusual way in which this "confession" was obtained - no recording, no observer, no signed statement, not even written notes.  I would be surprised if any prosecutor, even an excellent one like career prosecutor Juan Martinez who would likely actually try the case for the MCAO, could obtain a guitly verdict with the information about Saldate available to the defense.

ano31459
ano31459

It's easy: there are only two possibilities:  

Saldate is scum or Debra is a witch. That's a pretty clear choice to me.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

It time to end absolute immunity for prosecutors. Have them pay their own legal fees and face prison time for the innocent, whose lives they destroy.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

George Souliotes Freed | Wrongful Convictions Blog


http://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/2013/07/10/george-souliotes-freed/

"NCIP has investigated and litigated dozens of cases over the 12 years of our existence – this is our 17th victory since our creation.

But no case has so consumed our office for so many years.  No case has raised so many procedural hurdles and substantive issues as this case, including AEDPA pitfalls, faulty forensic science (of several kinds), newly discovered evidence, ineffective assistance of counsel, mistaken eyewitness identification, actual innocence, Vienna Convention issues, jury misconduct, and a witness whose own charges “went away” when she cooperated here.  The case required massive coordination of legal teams and management of the unpredictable press, with enormous pro bono assistance from the public relations firm of Sard Verbinnen, especially Lindsay Andrews, Jenny Gore and Reze Wong.

Discretion does not permit me to name the many prominent and influential people from the highest levels of politics, business and law who came to our aid over the years to try and negotiate with the state attorney general’s office to get them to see that justice required that they drop their procedural opposition to the case and let it proceed on the merits."

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Debra Milke is their "high-profile" political pawn leading up to the next election, like 2003. Time to stop the sick game these politicos are playing in the media and at taxpayers expense.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@marcy   The police and prosecutors work in collusion, with all the resources, Victim's Right $$$'s, draconian mandatory minimum sentencing as a weapon to turn people into convicts with plea bargains. 

How many productive people, wage earners, taxpayers, and innocent lives have been destroyed with this very sick and disturbing  game they play on the people -- using their tax dollars to destroy them. The "legal" process and criminal justice system is broken and should be a top priority on their list? Instead Arizona's wastes time and our money and decades old ideological issues -- designed to distract the people and split and divide them.

The profiteers in all this get obscenely rich. $50,000 flat fees up front for the lawyers. Private prison corporations fighting against meaningful reform along with the prosecutors -- who live at the state Capitol like "prosecutor lobbyists" -- that would save the taxpayers hundreds of millions of $$$'s.

It time to end absolute immunity for prosecutors. Have them pay their own legal fees and face prison time for the innocent, whose lives they destroy -- no different than a doctor who deals with life and death daily -- then you would see the $$$'s evaporate along with the cases. 

MotherJones
MotherJones

Both sides are bluffing. Not convinced of her guilt. How can she be guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt" given the nature of the alleged confession and this fat fuck POS Saldate?

ano31459
ano31459

@JohnQ.Public Think about it : no woman kills her child without showing serious signs of leakage... the so called motive "freedom from parental responsibility" is just nonsense, impossible. The human mind does not jump from being gentle and good to heinous murder for such a weak reason. "Leakage is the tendency of homicidal or mentally ill people to ‘leak’ behavior that would indicate their true nature..." Steve Moore, ex-FBI. It NEVER fails. http://www.injusticeinperugia.org/fbi.html

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

Could actually be both - Milke could be the murderer but won't be convicted on retrial because Saldate was allegedly a crooked cop.

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

@truthseekeraz 

This is exactly what needs to happen !

 >> It time to end absolute immunity for prosecutors. Have them pay their own legal fees and face prison time for the innocent, whose lives they destroy

lane99
lane99

@MotherJones No, just one side.  County Attorney have already said they are willing to negotiate a settlement.  Btw, you are well named as you come across like a real mother.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@ano31459 @shadeaux14  How about 40% non-violent who could be handled outside of the costly prison environment at $30,000-$60,000 per inmate, per year?

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

As I said above, I have no idea if she killed her child or not and I expressed no opinion on whether she did or didn't.  I only expressed an opinion on whether the state could win a conviction in a retrial.

ano31459
ano31459

@JohnQ.Public Err.. so you believe in witches? I know Arizona is strange, but not that strange. Do you think Harry Potter is true?

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

@lane99@MotherJones 

I'm sure they'd love to see a settlement rather than being exposed to the corruption the MCAO's  represents and be held accountable and face a major civil suit.

Whitch in no doubt will cost the tax payers millions before it's through.

>>County Attorney have already said they are willing to negotiate a settlement.

ano31459
ano31459

@JohnQ.Public I do mean it quite literally. Witch hunts are very much still with us in the 21st century, I'm not stupid I assure you. Why would witch hunts have suddenly stopped at some point in history? We may use different words such as "femme fatale" but that's just covering up the truth.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@ano31459 @JohnQ.Public  The Salem Witch Hunt is very much alive in Arizona. Women do not fair well in this state run by the "good ole boys" who have no regard or respect for women. There's plenty of evidence of that.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

My bad - I was thinking you were using witch as an allegory for a horrible person, usually a woman, who has done something really bad.  I didn't think you'd be stupid enough to use it literally or think that I'd interpret it literally.

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