Debra Milke's Attorneys Ask Judge to Set Bail
Will Debra Milke be granted bail after more than two decades on death row?
Debra Milke should be granted bail in her pending re-trial for murder because the main evidence against her is the word of a lying scoundrel of an ex-cop with zero credibility.
That's pretty much the argument offered by Milke's attorneys Michael Kimerer and Lori Voepel in a motion filed Monday in superior court.
As I explained in a previous blog item, Milke, whose 1990 conviction in the slaying of her 4-year-old son Christopher was recently overturned by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, may still be entitled to bail under the provisions of the Arizona Constitution.
Normally, capital cases are nonbondable, assuming the prosecution can establish that, "the proof is evident and the presumption great" of the accused's guilt.
But as the motion for a bail hearing states, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's case "rests almost entirely upon the testimony of [former Phoenix Police homicide] detective Armando Saldate."
And Saldate has a long history of unethical behavior that involves lying to judges, grand juries, his supervisors, you name it.
Indeed, in throwing out Milke's conviction, the Ninth detailed at length Saldate's "lack of compunction about lying during the course of his official duties" and his "willingness to abuse his authority to get what he wants."
The appeals court ruled that Saldate's record of mendacity should have been revealed to jurors, as Milke's first trial was essentially a "swearing contest" between Saldate, who claimed Milke confessed to him, and Milke, who insisted she did not, while maintining her innocence.
Given this record and given that Saldate did not record Milke's supposed confession, to which he was the only witness (natch), how can the prosecution show that "the proof is evident and the presumption great" as to her guilt?
"Courts have held that an accused is entitled to bail pending trial when the voluntariness of a confession is questioned and where a witness' testimony is contradicted," reads the motion.
Therefore, Milke should get what's called a "Simpson hearing," where both sides can argue her right to bail.
Milke's Simpson hearing may end up being August 1, Milke's next court date, assuming Judge Rosa Mroz agrees with Milke's attorneys.
The motion asserts that Milke, who has spent more than two decades on Arizona's death row, is not a flight risk.
"Both close family friends and counsel have agreed to provide her with housing and other means of support if released on bail," the document states.
Letters from several supporters are offered as an exhibit, some from as far away as Germany and Japan.
Several of the local letter writers offer to let Milke stay with them and/or serve as monitors for her. According to the motion, one supporter has even bought Milke a house where she can live.
"And, of course, the Court can set conditions of release and require Ms. Milke to report to pretrial services," the motion states. "Regardless, Ms. Milke has her own motivation to attend all court proceedings -- her desire to vindicate herself as innocent of any participation in the death of her child."
Her release would allow Milke to freely communicate with her mother, who suffers from terminal cancer and lives in Germany.
If you ask me, Montgomery hardly has a case to go to trial on, much less an argument that Milke should be held without bond.
The sooner Milke is released, the better.
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