Phoenix, AZ—I’m getting a lot of questions from anxious viewers about when we could expect to see Debra Milke go free. This seems tied to a short time table in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion and order. It’s not that easy.
First of all let me conceded that prosecutors have an absolute right to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. That could bring about significant delays and even could result in another reversal of this case. I’m optimistic and don’t anticipate the Supreme Court agreeing to hear this case. The police and prosecutorial misconduct here is way too egregious. I believe the 9th Circuit ruling will stand.
Prosecutors at some point may try to arrange a plea bargain for Debra that would bring immediate freedom but stain her forever as a convicted murderer. They can be counted on to suggest if she will plead guilty that her sentence would be limited to the time she’s already served. This would prevent her from suing over the false imprisonment. More importantly as a convicted murderer she could never be able to return to live in Germany where she was born should she want to do that. It’s a difficult decision that I expect Milke to reject.
Should they retry Debra, the only evidence against her is the “so-called” confession. A new jury will never hear that fabrication by the finally disgraced detective Armando Saldate. A retrial without any evidence is unrealistic but it’s happened before. I don’t however suspect there will be a retrial under these circumstances.
If the Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne somehow sees the light and abandons his already announced plans to appeal Debra Milke could be freed very quickly with out the stain of a criminal conviction.
As for a monetary award for what Debra has gone through it’s certainly not a sure thing. She would have to prove deliberate conduct by cops and prosecutors to bring a bad faith prosecution forward. The original Grand Jury’s indictment brings insulation and protection for the miscreants here. The legal term is, collateral estoppel.
Debra Milke seems to be headed for freedom here and execution now seems unlikely. At some point she will be brought to the Maricopa County jail pending her possible retrial. Having release on bail granted now is unlikely but it could happen.
Unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball and can’t read those damn tealeaves. We are all going to have to be patient and let the miserably slow legal system grind through this horror story. I can say that freedom probably come anywhere from 90 days to two years. That is of course if the United Sates Supreme Court does not reverse the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.