The annual meeting of Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona took place January 21st at Arizona State University’s Beus Center for Law and Society, 111 E Taylor St, Phoenix, AZ 85004. The event was free and open to the public.
Guest speakers were attorneys Lori Voepel and Michael D. Kimerer and their client Debra Milke. Ms. Voepel was Debra Milke’s appellate attorney from 2001 through 2013, when she finally won her federal habeas appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Voepel then served as co-counsel with Mr. Kimerer for Ms. Milke in re-trial proceedings, until successfully petitioning the Arizona Court of Appeals for dismissal of Ms. Milke’s case with prejudice in 2015. Mr. Kimerer has been practicing law in Phoenix since 1970 when he left California to join the law firm of Lewis & Roca. In his current firm Kimerer & Derrick, P.C., Mr. Kimerer, a certified criminal law specialist, devotes his practice to criminal defense.
In 1990 Debra Milke was wrongfully convicted of a horrible crime against her own child, Christopher, who was brutally murdered. She spent 22 years on Arizona’s death row. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted her Habeas Corpus Petition in 2013, holding that prosecutors failed to disclose a history of misconduct by homicide Detective Armando Saldate, Jr. While she did gain her hard-fought-for freedom, she is still left with a life without her son, making the victory bittersweet. She remains in her hometown of Phoenix, where she works part-time at a law firm, and tries to rebuild her shattered life.