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Longtime death row inmate Debra Milke closer to release

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Debra Milke has been on death row for more than 20 years. Debra Milke has been on death row for more than 20 years.
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a motion from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne to reconsider the ruling that threw out the murder conviction of Debra Milke.

Milke has been in Arizona's death row for more than 20 years. She was convicted of killing her 4-year-old son in 1989.

In March, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Milke's conviction and death sentence, saying the case was tainted by a detective with a history of lying under oath. The Appeals panel ruled that the prosecution failed to disclose information about Detective Armando Saldate's past misconduct. Saldate testified that Milke confessed to plotting her son's murder. Milke denied she ever confessed and denied having any involvement in her son's murder.

Today's ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lets stand the court's decision in March.

If the attorney general does not appeal to the Supreme Court, then the death sentence is essentially off the table and they have to go back to the Ninth Circuit Court to talk the merits of the case.  If there is nothing more or new that they can offer showing that she should, in fact, be on death row, then the case will have to be sent to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to determine if they want to retry Milke altogether.

Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.

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