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Retrial of woman released from death row in limbo

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BRIAN SKOLOFF | September 12, 2013 08:37 PM EST | AP


PHOENIX — Lawyers for an Arizona woman who spent more than two decades on death row before having her conviction overturned are expressing optimism after an attorney for the lead detective in the case noted his client wouldn't testify at her planned retrial.

Debra Milke was released last week while prosecutors prepare to put her on trial again for the 1989 killing of her 4-year-old son.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned her conviction in March, noting prosecutors didn't disclose information that cast doubt on the credibility of now-retired Phoenix police detective Armando Saldate Jr. The detective testified at Milke's trial that she confessed. Milke denied it.

Saldate's attorney told a judge Thursday his client planned to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The judge says without his testimony, the purported confession can't be used.