Debra Milke's Attorney Asks Court to Disqualify Bill Montgomery's Office as Prosecutor

Milke, whose Simpson hearing on a request for bail is scheduled for Thursday...

The lawyer for Debra Milke, whose 1990 murder conviction was overturned earlier this year by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, is asking the court to disqualify Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's office from being the prosecuting agency in the case.

On the eve of an August 1, hearing on whether or not Milke will be granted bail pending her new trial, her attorney Michael Kimerer filed a motion, arguing that MCAO prosecutors have a conflict of interest, "created by their own misconduct in this case, and the significant political, public and financial interest they have in the outcome of this case."

Kimerer accuses Montgomery of choosing to "embrace" and "validate" the tainted testimony of lying ex-Phoenix Police Detective Armando Saldate, whose account of Milke's unrecorded, undocumented, so-called confession is the only direct "evidence" against Milke in the murder of her four year-old son Christopher.

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The Ninth Circuit threw out Milke's conviction because Saldate's long record of deceit in other cases was not disclosed in full to the defense during Milke's trial.

For 50 years, the Supreme Court has held that any exculpatory evidence -- also known as "Brady material" -- must be revealed to defense counsel.

Milke's original attorneys could have used Saldate's record of mendacity and abuse of authority to impeach the cop's testimony. And impeaching Saldate's testimony in that way could have meant Milke's acquittal.

Read Kimerer's motion to disqualify Montgomery's office from the Milke case.

Kimerer notes that the MCAO as an agency is directly implicated in Saldate's misdeeds:

"The 60-page Ninth Circuit Opinion is not only a scathing indictment of a lawless cop who misbehaved again and again, but also of the Maricopa County Attorney‟s Office whose prosecutors breached their duty to disclose known, favorable impeachment evidence, and deliberately withheld evidence of other cases where Saldate had either lied under oath or engaged in other forms of blatantly unconstitutional misconduct.

"The Court detailed the specific cases involving not only blatant Miranda violations by Saldate, but also violations under the Fifth and/or Tenth Amendments in the course of his interrogations. Those cases all involved the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and the Phoenix Police Department - the very same agencies involved in re-prosecuting Debra Milke today."

Further on, Kimerer declares the obvious: that the MCAO could be sued for its behavior in the Milke case, and trying to obtain a conviction on retrial is therefore in its interest, leading the MCAO not to "do justice," as is its duty, but to mitigate its liability.

The motion further states:

"The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has a significant interest in litigating this case and trying to obtain another capital conviction against Ms. Milke. It is an interest not in obtaining justice, but in trying to 'redeem' and protect itself from further potential consequences relating to its own conduct in this case. The Opinion demonstrates that the Ninth Circuit is obviously very concerned with the actions of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Ms. Milke's case (and in other cases involving Saldate).

"Based upon the Court's findings, together with the possibility of federal investigations, and a likely civil lawsuit, the Maricopa County Attorney‟s Office faces significant penalties, civil liability, and an investigation by the United States Attorney‟s Office and/or Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. The decisions and actions of the current County Attorney and his prosecutors simply cannot be separated from the already wrongful conduct of the original County Attorney and his prosecutors, and their conflict should be imputed to the entire Maricopa County Attorney‟s Office."

Asked for a comment, MCAO spokesman Jerry Cobb would only say that the county attorney will be filing a response to the motion soon.

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who was the MC Attorney for this case?

Rick Romley NEEDS Montgomery to try this case. Rick Romley is the bad guy here...why do you keep ignoring that fact Stephen?


If they do retry her, I hope that the defense is able to rip them to shreds in court, in front of the jury, the defendant, and all of america.


I wonder what kind of deal MCAO is offering the 2 convicts who carried out the murder to come into court and lie. peace

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Milke should be retried ONLY if ALL of the evidence gathered by Phoenix PD and Det. Saldate is excluded. Which means that the case would have to be completely re-investigated. Moreover, the judge should explain to the jury that Milke (who, of course, may be guilty as hell) was convicted entirely by the testimony of a rogue detective and the men who carried out the grisly deed (murdering Milke's little boy execution-style). If the judge's explanation to the jury is prejudicial to the state's case, so be it.


It was highest time that this (Buffalo-) Bill Montgomery and his cover-up cohorts be taken off this case of a clearly innocent mother. His corruptness in office and his arrogance toward true justice are just ridiculous and should get him disbarred. I hope fellown Arizonans will never forget how Monty is trying to cover Saldate's butt. Great work, Stephen!


Steve:  Good article. Keep up the good effort in disclosing the corruptness of the MCAO for many reasons,, none of which has "justice" in mind. Its grandstanding at its best and time to  let the public know how they have been and continue to operate. Not only is Debra Milke suffering but the taxpayers of Maricopa County are paying the bill.  Its time the public takes notice and demands change.


I presume that there are so very many people who _deserve_ punishment but Bill Montgomery is the main and primary person responsible for continuing the injustice that is the Debra Milke case.  I could easily add, the chief of police during the period of investigation and the chief of the homicide department of the police during this period.  I am sure there are a few more others could add.


@royalphoenix LOL, right... Problem here: Scott was offered a plea deal twice and turned it down. Styers always said Debra had nothing to do with the murder. There was never a conspiracy.


Thank you.  There are so many details in the actual filings that just cannot be summarized even by the best journalists.

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