Prosecutors Respond To Order In Milke Case

September 18, 2013

Maricopa County prosecutors acknowledge they did not give a judge a letter that contained information affecting a key witness' availability for the retrial of a former death row inmate. 

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Rosa Mroz had ordered prosecutors to explain why they did not promptly give her a letter they got from federal prosecutors. The letter said a preliminary review indicated the statute of limitations had expired for the prosecution of former detective Armando Saldate whose credibility has been questioned.

Saldate had testified that Debra Milke confessed to him. She was convicted and sentenced to death in the killing of her young son in 1989. An appeals court overturned her conviction earlier this year, saying prosecutors should have disclosed information that cast doubt on Saldate’s credibility.

The prosecutors' response to Mroz's order said Saldate's lawyer got the letter but indicated it does not sufficiently rule out the possibility the former detective could still face prosecution. The response also said the prosecutors did not give the letter to Mroz because the sides have not yet worked out a formal resolution that is acceptable to Saldate's lawyer.