Judge threatens gag order in Debra Milke retrial

Judge threatens gag order in Debra Milke retrial

Updated:
Debra Milke Debra Milke
PHOENIX -

She spent 20 years on death row until her convicted was overturned and her purported confession thrown out.

Debra Milke is out of jail awaiting a new trial -- a trial that the Maricopa County Attorney says he still wants to go through with.

Today, attorneys for both sides in Milke's case faced a judge who had some strong words for them.

For obvious reasons, this case is drawing a lot of interest, and attorneys have not been shy when it comes to talking about the case. But the judge made it clear today she wants that to stop.

Debra Milke wore civilian clothes in court. She's stayed quiet since her release, but attorneys on both sides have not.

The judge lashed out at them for talking to the media about former Phoenix Police Detective Armando Saldate.

"If the information is relevant enough for the press, the media, then it is relevant enough for me. After all we are not trying this case in the media, we are trying this case to me," said Judge Rosa Mroz, Maricopa County Superior Court.

Back in 1989, Saldate was the key witness against Debra Milke. The detective claimed Milke confessed to him that she had a part in her son's murder. But the detective didn't have a recording or a written statement.

Milke denied making the confession and, during the original trial, the jury never got to hear about the detective's troubled past with the department.

Now he wants to take the 5th and avoid testifying at the retrial.

The judge said Monday that if attorneys continue to speak publicly about the case, she may issue a gag order.

"Both sides should act professional and refrain from making comments because eventually we are going to have to empanel a jury and it is going to be awfully hard to do that if it is all aired out in public," said Judge Mroz.

Milke's attorney blamed the county attorney's office.

"Certainly we don't to try it in the press either but the county attorney continues to make press releases every week, forcing us to try respond to some of the false statements and representations they have been making," said Milke's attorney, Mike Kimerer.

The judge tentatively set Milke's retrial for Feb. 2, 2015.

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