Saturday, December 13, 2014

Back in action: Catch-up (2): The Debra Milke case. Arizona; 49-year-old is freed after 22 years on Death Row. How far will police and prosecutors go to secure a conviction in cases where there is no forensic evidence linkinga person to the crime?

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Back into action; (2):  Debra Milke.  The recent  Arizona Court of Appeal decision freeing Debra Milke is the kind of case which has me wonder how far unscrupulous police officers will go to have people when there is no forensic evidence linking them to the crime? Will they manufacture a confession they claim to have taken? Will they secure the kind evidence of a  "disinterested" cell-mate who just happens  to have heard the cellmate blurt out a confession to the crime?  In Milke's case the  alleged confession was not recorded. There was no witness present during the interrogation even though another  officer was in the immediate vicinity. Defence lawyers were not provided information that the officer who took the confession had a reputation for using underhanded tactics to get confessions. And that's all it took to steal years of Milke's life - until the Arizona Court of Appeal  stepped in with its ruling that barred a further trial. Several safeguards could minimize the possibility of such abominable police behaviour. Safeguard one:  Routinely videoptape confessions as is becoming more and more common in North America; Safeguard two: Tight court restrictions on the use of cellmate evidence; Safeguard three; Real consequences for both prosecutors and officers involved. Oh yes. The Debra Milke case. Just wondering.

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

COMMENTARY: "Milke should not be retried. Judges got it right," by columnist EJ Montini, published by Arizona  on December 11, 2014.

GIST: "After all these years, her conviction was tossed out by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because of that tainted confession. At Milke's trial, Phoenix police Detective Armando Saldate testified that during an interrogation in which he was alone with Milke, and there was no recording, Milke admitted taking part in the crime. Milke denies confessing. It turned out that Saldate had a reputation for questionable behavior when it came to such confessions, but Milke's defense never heard about it. The judges of the 9th Circuit expressed outrage in throwing out Milke's conviction, writing in part, "The Constitution requires a fair trial, and one essential element of fairness is the prosecution's obligation to turn over exculpatory evidence. This never happened in Milke's case, so the jury trusted Saldate without hearing of his long history of lies and misconduct. ... All of this information should have been disclosed to Milke and the jury, but the state remained unconstitutionally silent.""

The entire story can be found at:


Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;