|Debra Milke is 49 years-old now.|
San Francisco, CA—In a stunning opinion the court reversed the convictions and death sentence of Debra Milke.
As most of my readers know I’ve investigated the Debra Milke case from her arrest on December 3, 1989 to the present. Over the decades I have done this as an investigative freelance TV producer/reporter. I have produced stories with Arizona’s TV stations, A&E American Justice and over a half-dozen European media organizations. I have worked with a Swiss Documentary producer making and showing a film for the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival.
I have never once wavered in my belief that Milke never confessed to police or that she was actually part of a conspiracy to murder her four-year old son Christopher. I interview her with a hidden tape recorder only hours after Phoenix Police Detective Armando Saldate claimed Milke confessed to him.
Several days after my interview with Milke, a supplementary report was filed by Saldate wherein he alleged she confessed to him. The timing just does not jive.
The issue before the court seemed to be whether Milke waived her right to an attorney before confessing. There was no waiver but more importantly there was no confession! Today in a stunning opinion the court made it clear that they doubt Saldate’s confession and that the prosecutors hid evidence about Saldate’s past perjury, false reports and other egregious misconduct in violation of long established court rules.
The ordered a new trial but the so-called confession may still be an issue. The difficult part here is that confession was and is the only evidence that ever existed linking Milke to her son’s murder. If the confession is allowed all of Saldate's prior misconduct will also be handed to the jury. Prosecutor’s now have very little to present to a new jury. This looks like Debra Milke may be going free.
The ball is now in the Arizona Attorney General’s court because he must decide whether to appeal to the United States Supreme Court. With the case record as we now know it would seem unlikely they would actually hear the prosecutor’s appeal.
For the first time I’m cautiously optimistic that Milke may go free in the coming months perhaps short of another year. I’m hopeful she’s escaped the awful specter of the lethal injection!
In all my years I don’t recall such a strong statement made about the misconduct of cops, supervisors and prosecutors as the court made today by this court.
I have a completed feature film screenplay about this travesty and my years of observing this injustice. It looks like I will now have to add a happy ending.
Happy? I don’t know what could be happy about Debra Milke sitting in solitary confinement on Death Row for nearly a quarter of a century. The thousand of degrading and humiliating strip searches, bad meals and unbearable Arizona summers without air conditioning have definitely made a impact of this poor woman.
When she’s freed her job skills will be antiquated, her contributions to retirement and Social Security non-existent and she undoubtedly at age 49 has learned about menopause. I hope she can find happiness, laughs and a rewarding way to spend her remaining years on this earth.
Here is the actual Court ruling and videos: