Maricopa County Attorney Asks Court To Depublish Milke Opinion

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 4:53pm
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2015 - 8:42am
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(Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Corrections)
Debra Milke

The Maricopa County Attorney is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to depublish the Court of Appeals ruling in the Debra Milke case. When a ruling is depublished, that means it can’t be cited in future cases.

Debra Milke spent more than 20 years on death row for the 1989 killing of her 4-year-old son before the Arizona Court of Appeals ordered a lower court dismiss her case. The Appeals Court determined the state knew about alleged misconduct by a former Phoenix police detective and did not disclose it to Milke or her attorneys. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery wants that opinion depublished.

“What we are trying to do is to make sure that there is not an inadvertent communication to prosecution, police and the criminal justice system that somehow there is a new expansive application of double jeopardy and brady violation situations,“ he said. 

Montgomery maintains he is not trying to vacate the opinion so he can retry Milke.

“It looks like it’s all about saving face,” Criminal Defense Attorney David Euchner said. “He doesn’t want it to have any force of law going forward. But he fails to realize that with or without the Milke opinion, it has been the law for 30 years in our state that an indictment can get dismissed for this kind of misconduct.”

Euchner said the Supreme Court usually depublishes a few opinions a year. The court will decide later this month whether to depublish the Milke ruling.  

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