source: Daily Mail Online
published: 12 December 2014
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 in her son’s killing.
The Arizona Court of Appeals said the charges against Debra Jean Milke in the 1989 death of her son Christopher can’t be refiled. A three-judge panel said it agrees with Milke’s argument that a retrial would amount to double jeopardy. The court held that prosecutors’ failure to turn over evidence that could have helped Milke’s defense was egregious, calling the actions ‘a severe stain on the Arizona justice system.’
‘Nondisclosure of this magnitude 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.’