Debra Milke files lawsuit against county attorney and police

Debra Milke spent 23 years on death row, convicted of killing her young son. She has since been let out of prison and now she is filing a major lawsuit.

Milke and her attorneys are suing Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, the City of Phoenix, and several former Phoenix Police officers and detectives for their roles in her conviction and imprisonment.

Milke's attorneys are seeking a jury trial, saying their client deserves a settlement for civil rights violations after being on death row for almost half her life.

The suit claims that a former detective lied about a confession he claimed Milke made to him, and that same detective has been accused of misconduct several times before. 

The suit also claims Saldate attempted to use his un-witnessed, unrecorded interrogation to coerce a confession from Milke, based on a hunch that she must have been involved in the crime. Saldate was allegedly the first person to tell Milke her son was dead saying "We found your son, he was murdered. And you're under arrest."

Her attorneys say in the interrogation room alone with Saldea, Milke kept insisting she was innocent, but Saldate fabricated the confession and said Milke admitted to arranging her son's brutal murder.

Milke's suit also alleges the Phoenix Police Department manipulated the evidence to "fit" the fabricated confession.

Milke insists she never confessed to Detective Saldate, and that no other evidence directly implicated her in the crime.

The confession was the basis for the jury's guilty verdict which sent Milke to more than two decades on death row.

An appeals court turned Milke free, and ruled all charges should be dismissed. Milke is unable to be re-tried due to double jeopardy.

She remains under monitoring by an ankle bracelet while the county attorney's office appeals that ruling to the United States Supreme Court.

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