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View Diary: AZ woman spends 22 years on death row due to dishonest police detective (82 comments)

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  •  More than the Judge and the DA deserve scrutiny (4+ / 0-)
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    Justus, samddobermann, Avila, a2nite

    Perhaps I don't understand what I've read, but at the original Trail, Defense had a subpoena quashed which sought the cop's complete personnel file.   Defense should never have had to even request it, let alone have it's subpoena quashed!  Why did the original trial judge quash without looking at it?  It was long established legal precedence in Brady and Giglio that required the prosecution to turn over to defense.  Based on the ruling for release, I can only conclude that the trail judge didn't care.  Also, the Trial Judge only allowed in some of the cop's training information and documentation on department policies to be presented, which was biased towards the prosecution.  Why wasn't all of Saldate's personnel and judicial records provided?  I'm not saying it had to be presented, but by law, defense had a right to be aware of it.  After conviction, the Judge had an obligitation to look at it, when considering Sentence.  Why didn't Judge Hendrix inquire, when the defense subpoena said to produce all of the cops records and

    "The state produced just two of Saldate’s annual reviews even though Saldate had held the job for twenty-one years before Milke’s trial."
    Why didn't the Post Conviction Court look at that and the obvious record of Saldate's violations of Defendant's Miranda rights in not only this, but other cases?  Why didn't the Post Conviction Court even consider defendant's claims that her rights had been violated?  Answer:  The Post Conviction Judge was the same Judge; as at trial, Cheryl Hendrix.  But she was presented with information at post conviction, that the cop had previously lied (including under oath) and the cop had denied defendant Miranda rights of other suspects, which supported defense claims of a Miranda violation.  The ruling ordering release says it well:  
    "But seven of the cases included court orders finding that Saldate had lied under oath or violated the Fifth or the Fourth Amendments during interrogations.  Multiple judicial determinations that Saldate lied in performing his official functions and violated suspects’ constitutional rights would have been highly relevant where the state’s case rested on his testimony."
    What gets me is that even with the ruling ordering release, the court goes out of it's way to protect Hendrix in suggesting that she never even read the material quashed by the subpoena:  
    "Had the state post-conviction judge realized that the documents contained judicial findings of Saldate’s mendacity and disregard for  constitutional rights, she may well have recognized their relevance as impeachment evidence that had not been disclosed as required by Giglio."
    The concept that the judge never even read the material is supported by the ruling which includes:
    "These court orders would have been a game-changer for Milke, but the state court failed to grasp their significance because it was apparently unaware that the documents contained judicial findings rather than mere allegations."
    But why didn't she read it or ask why it hadn't been provided?
    "The issue of Saldate’s Miranda compliance was strenuously disputed at trial. The judge instructed the jury to discount any of Milke’s statements to police “unless you determine beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant made the statements voluntarily.”
     I'd argue that this order prejudiced things for the Prosecution.  In Post Conviction, Hendrix ruled that the information undermining Saldate:
    “would have been inadmissible extrinsic evidence on a collateral matter” and “would have been inadmissible to show that the detective engaged in the same ‘misconduct’  in this case.”
    Worse still was the Arizona Supreme Courts unwillingness to look at Defense claims of Prosecution misconduct and denial of due process.  The US District Court says it well:
    "What happened here is more akin to active concealment".
    How can any judge question whether a defendant has the rights to any history of an officer's disciplinary records as
    "the discoverability of the evidence and the specificity of the claim."
    ? On the contrary, it was long standing supreme court precedent even then.  I keep going back to the prosecutor and this statement in the ruling rings very loud:  "
    evidence that was materially incomplete due to the prosecution’s
     Also, from the March 14th order:
    "The prosecutor’s office no doubt knew of this misconduct because it had harmed criminal prosecutions.  The police must have known, too."

    A final damming of the prosecutor, in the order for release:

    "That means even as Milke’s attorney was working hard to stave off a death sentence and win a new trial or judgment notwithstanding the verdict, the prosecutor’s office and the police were actively dealing with Saldate’s misconduct in another murder case."
    Again, I'm not a lawyer, but after reading the entire March 14, 2003 ruling, I stunned.  It's a good read and perhaps others will come to conclusions that I don't or view something differently than I have.

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