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Case Tossed Vs. Debra Jean Milke, Woman Held 22 Years In Son’s Death, by Jacques Billeaud and Bob Christie, Huff Post Crime


In a scathing critique of Arizona’s criminal justice system, a state appeals court on Thursday ordered the dismissal of murder charges against a woman who spent 22 years on death row for the killing of her 4-year-old son.

The Arizona Court of Appeals leveled harsh criticism against prosecutors over their failure to turn over evidence during Debra Jean Milke’s trial about a detective with a long history of misconduct and lying. The court called prosecutors’ actions ‘a severe stain on the Arizona justice system.’

A three-judge panel of the appeals court said it agreed with Milke’s argument that a retrial would amount to double jeopardy.

The failure to disclose the evidence ‘calls into question the integrity of the system and was highly prejudicial to Milke,’ the court wrote. ‘In these circumstances — which will hopefully remain unique in the history of Arizona law — the most potent constitutional remedy is required.’ . . .