Debra Milke case: Defense wants prosecutors dismissed - New York News

Debra Milke case: Defense wants prosecutors dismissed

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Debra Milke Debra Milke
PHOENIX -

The legal wrangling continues in the case of Debra Milke. She served over 20 years on death row for killing her 4-year-old son.

But several months ago a federal appeals court threw out her conviction.

Now the defense is battling to throw prosecutors off the case, claiming they want to re-try Milke for political reasons.

Two men are on death row for killing little Christopher Milke after telling him he was going to see Santa Claus at the mall. Until recently Debra Milke was as well.

But her conviction was tossed because the federal court said prosecutors in 1990 didn't tell Milke's defense that the detective who said she confessed her guilt to him had a long record of lying under oath.

The prosecutor began Friday by claiming the 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court got its facts wrong when it threw out Debra Milke's conviction and ordered a new trial.

The judge pointed out the federal judges' opinion is binding and if a new trial doesn't start by October 7th Debra Milke must be released from behind bars.

Then the defense and prosecutors sparred over whether the Maricopa County Attorney's Office should be disqualified from the case. The judge said she'd decide on that next week.

Then, as people started to file out of the courtroom, Arizona Milke, Debra Milke's former husband and father of victim Christopher Milke, asked the prosecutor to give a file of papers to the judge.

"I have no safeguards, no protection against threats, harassment by any other agencies," said Arizona Milke.

"Ok this is what I would say Mr. Milke. I know you are the victim's father. It is not the appropriate time for me to consider whatever is in there at this point," said Judge Rosa Mroz.

And with that, court ended.

Another battle is brewing in the next month: the defense wants any testimony from Armando Saldate -- the former Phoenix Police detective who claims he got that confession -- kept out of any retrial of Debra Milke.

And if prosecutors don't have that, it may be difficult to convince another jury of her guilt.

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