originally published by: Phoenix New Times
2nd February 2010
A U.S. District Court Judge has dealt Debra Milke a big legal setback, ruling that the death-row inmate did validly waive her Miranda rights against self-incrimination before she allegedly confessed to having her son murdered in 1989.
Judge Robert C. Broomfield’s 21-page ruling comes two weeks after hearing from both Milke and former Phoenix homicide Detective Armando Saldate during an evidentiary hearing in his courtroom. The hearing had been ordered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after it ruled that it could find no evidence that Milke had waived her rights.
Broomfield’s decision now returns to the appellate court for evaluation. The panel still may reverse him and rule that Detective Saldate illegally elicited Milke’s incriminating statements, and order a new trial. Then again, they may not. But the judge’s ruling left little to the imagination about his position.
A Maricopa County jury convicted Milke of first-degree murder and conspiring with two Phoenix men to commit first-degree murder by arranging the homicide of her four-year-old son Christopher.