Woman on Death Row Has Conviction Overturned
Detective in case has history of perjury
By Kevin Spak, Newser User | Suggested by runs_with_scissors
Posted Mar 15, 2013 12:02 PM CDT
This undated image provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections shows Debra Jean Milke.   (AP Photo/Arizona Department of Corrections, File)

(Newser) – Debra Milke has spent 22 years on death row for orchestrating the murder of her 4-year-old son, but the Arizona woman may be on the verge of freedom, after a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge overturned her conviction yesterday. Milke's roommate and a friend shot Milke's son in 1990. Milke was convicted based entirely on the testimony of Detective Armando Saldate, who testified that the friend had implicated Milke in the plot, and that she had confessed, CNN reports. Now Saldate's testimony is coming under suspicion, and Milke could go free soon unless prosecutors decide to retry her.

The friend never testified to Saldate's claim, and there was no record of the confession. It was Saldate's word against Milke's and, unbeknownst to Milke's lawyers, Saldate had a mile-long history of misconduct. Judges had thrown out four confessions and indictments because Saldate had lied under oath, and four more because he had violated defendants' constitutional rights. He was also once suspended for "taking liberties" with a female motorist. The judge said the state "failed in its constitutional obligation" by keeping all of that from Milke's defenders.

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Showing 3 of 49 comments
Apr 29, 2014 7:41 AM CDT
The detective should be in prison for the damage he's done. By keeping an innocent woman in prison, how in the bleep did he sleep he must of had no conscience whatsoever.
Mar 16, 2013 1:34 AM CDT
That detective should go to jail. I say that if someone goes to jail based on your lies in court, the person that lied to face the sentence.
Mar 15, 2013 5:19 PM CDT
Why was this detective still allowed to function in the department, with so many cases of misconduct ?