Debra Milke's Judge Says Ex-Cop Armando Saldate's Credibility at Issue, Bond Hearing Delayed Till August 30

milkepic550.JPG
pool photo by Ross Franklin of the Associated Press
Milke at Thursday's hearing before Judge Mroz...

After 23 years on death row, Debra Milke will have to wait at least another month to learn if she is eligible for bail, pending retrial for the 1989 murder of her four year-old son Christopher.

Thursday afternoon, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Rosa Mroz set August 30 as the new date for a bond hearing, stating that so much had transpired since Milke's 1990 conviction, a so-called "Simpson hearing" was necessary.

"I don't believe the court has a choice," Mroz said at one point, disagreeing with the prosecution's argument that Milke's indictment and denial of bail of more than two decades ago should stand.

Rather, Mroz concurred with the defense that whether Milke is granted bail hinges on the testimony of lying ex-Phoenix cop Armando Saldate, the only witness to Milke's "confession," which was not recorded or properly documented.

See Also:
Bill Montgomery Opposes Ethics Rule Requiring Prosecutors to Reveal Evidence of Wrongful Convictions
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"It centers on Detective Saldate," Mroz stated. "We need a Simpson hearing....Saldate's credibility is at issue."

In March, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Milke's murder conviction, ordering that she be released or retried, and berating county prosecutors for not revealing to the defense Saldate's extensive record of dishonesty and abuse of authority.

Mroz observed that the possibility of bail for Milke will depend on "whether a confession was actually made," and "whether Milke invoked her right to counsel."

First-degree murder is a nonbondable offense in Arizona, as long as the "proof is evident or the presumption great" that the defendant committed the crime in question.

Kimerer argues that the proof is not evident, nor the presumption great regarding Milke's guilt, given that Saldate's credibility has been eviscerated by the Ninth Circuit's scathing decision.

Additionally, Kimerer has moved to disqualify the county attorney's office from being the prosecuting agency in the Milke case, claiming that the MCAO is conflicted, as the Ninth sent the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division, requesting an investigation into all parties involved in Milke's original prosecution, including the MCAO.

Moreover, the MCAO may be attempting to mitigate its potential civil liability by retrying Milke, as Milke is likely to sue for wrongful prosecution.

Mroz scheduled oral arguments on Kimerer's motion to disqualify for August 23, instructing deputy county attorney Vince Imbordino to address certain questions in a future filing, such as what his involvement has been in the case to date.

Throughout the hearing, Milke sat quietly next to her lawyers, occasionally whispering into the ear of one.

Other than the handcuffs and black and white county stripes she wore, Milke's dark-frame glasses and her gray shoulder-length hair made her look like any middle-aged woman you might see in a supermarket, and quickly forget.

Kimerer complained that in the Maricopa County jail, Milke has not had access to a phone so she can call collect to her cancer-stricken mother in Germany. The judge told Kimerer to take it up with the prosecutor's office.

Milke was then escorted out by a sheriff's deputy, back to Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail, at least until the next hearing.

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17 comments
jazzbo13
jazzbo13

Will Judge Roy Snyder be presiding over the upcoming Simpson hearing?

maz2331
maz2331

This case is being retried as a result of the most scathing "benchslap" that I have EVER seen come from any court.  When a federal Circuit Court refers a case to the DOJ for a civil rights investigation, it is not just a referral - it's basically as close to an order from God to "find something and fry someone" as it gets.  I can't recall the last time that I saw it happen.

The actual ruling is at http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2013/03/14/07-99001%20web%20-%20corrected.pdf and is worth a read, even for non-nerds.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

Why Montgomery wanted to jump feet first into this tar pit is beyond me but like all tar pits - he's going to be stuck in it for a long time and come out of it dirtier than when he went in. 

geebee2
geebee2

She is totally innocent, she never confessed, Styers lied to Scott, who confessed to Saldate.

Whole case is an utterly monstrous injustice.

And still the state of Arizona refuses to recognise the superiority of the Federal court.

http://debra-milke.wikispaces.com/

royalphoenix
royalphoenix

The MCAO and the judges in this state sure don't mind wasting tax payer $.

ingo5
ingo5

This is sick. Following this case for a few years now I cant believe that the State really has the nerv to putt her on trial again. Montgomery had a great chance to step away from this masterpiece of injustice. He didnt use the chance to distance himself and his Office from his  predecessor. Instead he wants the lying Cop back at the witness stand and seak another conviction. Disgusting Mister Mongomery

FRONTERA
FRONTERA

This  case  is way messed upped . Some of those old time judges,  back then, just like to hear their voice  say  guilty,and hammer that gavel.

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

She's still getting fucked...now by the courts, not surprising at all.

moneyshot
moneyshot

I don't care what happens to this old woman. Instead of reading this insipid blog posting,  I'm just going to eat an otter pop and jerk off.

arizonaeagletarian
arizonaeagletarian

@maz2331 Holy Crap. I just read the opinion. That sounds like the Ninth Circuit panel was calling for someone to be held accountable... and not necessarily only Saldate.

interloper
interloper

@JohnQ.Public Politics. Image and perception are everything, The majority of voters (so called "conservative" voters) in Maricopa County wouldn't recognize justice if they saw it. They only care that their elected officials appear to be tough minded and unsympathetic to anyone that law enforcement arrests, guilty or not. Montgomery loses less votes by standing behind an unjust guilty verdict looking tough-on-crime than he would by seeking actual justice and risking being called soft.

allanbartlett
allanbartlett

bwah ha ha ha whack it, punky. whack it all night long.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@interloper.  Yes, but if he didn't pursue it following the 9th Circuit's opinion the story would have been a 24 hour news cycle - now he's got to deal with it for the next 2 years.  And then if he doesn't win a conviction then he loses because the MCAO under his leadership couldn't secure a conviction against a defendent that another County Attorney was able to convict.  Even if this was purely a political calculation, it seems to me that it was a poorly made one.

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