Criminal Justice

After 22 Years on Death Row, Woman May See Case—Based on Word of Rogue Cop—Dropped


Debra Milke
Arizona Dept. of Corrections

Debra Jean Milke has been fighting for decades a capital conviction in Arizona for allegedly arranging the murder of her 4-year-old son in 1989. The conviction was based almost entirely on the testimony of Phoenix Det. Armando Saldate, who claimed she confessed in an interview. The interview was not recorded, and she insisted she did not confess.

Saldate also had lengthy history of misconduct and lying under oath that had been concealed from the defense. His behavior had resulted in judges tossing out confessions or indictments in four previous cases. Milke's conviction was tossed out a year ago by the U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery attempted to get Milke retried. On Thursday the Arizona Court of Appeals ordered the charges dismissed with prejudice, citing "egregious prosecutorial misconduct." Montgomery said he will appeal this ruling to the state's Supreme Court.

The 2013 dismissal, written by 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinksi, actually spent several pages documenting all the misconduct claims against Saldate, including "taking liberties" with a woman he had pulled over for a faulty taillight and then lying to investigators about it. He was suspended for five days for that incident. You can read the court's ruling here (pdf). Saldate subsequently invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in order to not testify in Milke's case. Two other men (one Milke's former roommate) have been convicted and are on death row.

Hat tip to Ken White of Popehat, who also posted about the case last year here and uploaded the court decision.

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  1. God damn DA’s. They’re worse than SJWs when it comes to doubling down on the stupid. I want to see a few of them burn.

    1. That’s really more in Clark’s bucket than Ken’s. Not that it’s a bad bucket, mind you.

  2. I assume the cop and DA will be prosecuted for their crimes.

    Haaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha!

  3. I’m sure that Reason’s new progressive and SJW friends will be all over this example of criminal justice abuse.

    1. #Blacklivesmatter!!! oh what a second, a white victim of the criminal justice system? That doesn’t fit the racial narrative. Move along nothing to see here, just keep chanting black lives matter.

      1. 22 years ago, she was black!

        1. Prison changes people.

    2. Rebrand it as part of the war on womyn. Then they’ll care.

  4. Montgomery said he will appeal this ruling to the state’s Supreme Court.




    What possesses someone to be this evil? If he was the original prosecutor he should be disbarred and the lying animal pig should be confined to a pain amplifier for the remainder of his miserable life.

    Appealing to the Supreme Court? Why isn’t he on his way to fucking jail and remitting all his wealth to Debra Mike?

    1. This is what really gets me. It’s nothing more than protecting conviction records and the DA’s political aspirations. Until the people start running them out of office for conduct like this, it will continue. This is where local newspapers actually can serve a purpose by shining a light on this crap.

    2. Montgomery is an evil piece of shit.

    3. And people wonder why someone might remove a DA in their driveway.

  5. Saldate also had lengthy history of misconduct and lying under oath that had been concealed from the defense.

    Trayvon’s behavior outside of this case is neither here nor there.

    1. Impeaching a witness’s credibility allows the introduction of all kinds of evidence that is otherwise not allowed.

      The fact that these amoral thugs have never spent a minute on the wrong side of the bars in prison is sickening.

      1. What I can’t figure out is why Saldate isn’t in prison. Presuming his “history of misconduct and lying under oath (a crime, if my civics class memory serves me) is verified truth. Why is it an administrative/procedural offense?

        1. If negligent homicide is an administrative offense, then this definitely is.


        2. Why is it an administrative/procedural offense?

          Because laws are for the little people, he’s a cop, so FYTW.

    2. Trayvon wasn’t a witness providing testimony.

      1. I understand that… but it is my non-lawyerly opinion that if someone has a long and hallowed history of temper-related incidents in which they’re very quick to throw a punch, and the entire case is predicated on who attacked first, sometimes these details are both here and there.

        1. What you’re describing is “evidence of prior bad acts”. Which is generally inadmissible, but there are exceptions.

          One of them is:

          a defendant may offer evidence of an alleged victim’s pertinent trait, and if the evidence is admitted, the prosecutor may:

          (i) offer evidence to rebut it; and

          (ii) offer evidence of the defendant’s same trait;

          I would say that evidence of Trayvon’s habit of getting all punchy would be admissible.

          1. Thanks.

            This blogpost is woefully brief for something regarding a murder of a child, subsequent trial and conviction.

            I’ll bet $1 that the previous misconduct and lying-under-oath attempted to be introduced, but the DA had them thrown out as irrelevant.

            Although the post said ‘concealed from the defense’ I suppose it’s possible that something the defense would have allowed was just kept from them.

            However, a competent defense attorney’s going to look into an officer’s record if the life of his client rides solely on his testimony.

            But I’m no lawyer… or doctor.

            1. Popehat has the story; if I remember right, the defense asked for Saldate’s disciplinary record and got only a small part of it.

            2. Ah, here it is in Kozinski’s recap: The subpoena requested Saldate’s “entire personnel file” including “all records of any Internal Affairs investigations … relating to his technique or methods of interrogation, violations of Miranda rights and/or improprieties during the course of interrogation, if any.” The state trial court quashed the subpoena except for some records of Saldate’s training and documents describing police department policies, which were submitted for in camera review [i.e. for the judge’s eyes only].


    Another story of a false rape allegation from Charlottesville, only this time there was a prosecution and a Commonwealth Attorney who witheld cell phone data that would have proven the guy innocent.

    1. Also the whole case is batshit insane.

  7. I buy almost everything except food and clothing from online auctions most people aren’t aware of the almost I unbelievable deals that they can get from online auction sites the site that has the best deals is…..

    1. “I buy almost everything except food and clothing from online auctions”

      So you buy opium, automatic weapons, buttplugs and child sex-slaves?

  8. The Opinion seems not to mention the name of any of those who misbehaved other than Saldate. Why not?

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