Debra Milke Still Has Shot at Bail, Despite Bill Montgomery's Statements
Jon Gipe Milke in an old jailhouse pic...
At his Wednesday press conference where he doubled-down on his support of deceitful ex-Phoenix detective Armando Saldate, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery insisted that Debra Milke, the person Saldate put on death row, would remain nonbondable pending trial.
"I want to underscore, she's not entitled to bail under the Arizona constitution," Monty told reporters. "So folks asserting she's going to be released pending trial, that's not going to happen."
See, Milke's back to being "the accused," since the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out her conviction on March 14, and since Monty has decided to retry the 49 year-old.
Article II, Section 22 of the Arizona Constitution makes capital offenses nonbondable, if "the proof is evident or the presumption great" as to the accused's guilt.
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"She is charged with a capital crime, a jury returned an indictment, so we're well beyond the proof evident presumption great level," maintained Monty.
But isn't that up to a judge? Couldn't a judge decide to grant Milke bail, after 22 years on death row?
"In violation of the Arizona Constitution, I guess a judge could do that," said Montgomery.
Initially, that assertion seemed validated late Wednesday by a minute entry from Superior Court Judge Joseph Welty, setting a status hearing before Judge Rosa Mroz for July 17, and ordering that Milke be held without bond. (Milke will also be transported from Perryville Prison, where she lives now, to county jail.)
But that ain't the final word, according to Milke's defense attorney Michael Kimerer, who got back to me this morning via email.
"There was no bail hearing," wrote Kimerer. "Judge Welty, the presiding Judge entered his order assigning the case to Judge Mroz, set a status conference, and ordered ex parte to hold [Milke] without bond.
"This was expected because the presumption in Arizona is that you are nonbondable in a capital case. However, that presumption can be challenged if we can show the `proof is not evident or the presumption not great' that she committed the crime. (See A.R.S. 13-3962). We will be doing that and Judge Mroz will probably set what is called a `Simpson Hearing' to make that determination."