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PHOENIX (AP) — A federal court Thursday awarded more than $25,000 to a Mexican woman who claimed her five-day detention at an immigration office in Arizona two years ago was an illegal arrest.
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona sheriff known for crackdowns on people living in the country illegally is giving up his last major foothold in immigration enforcement efforts that won him popularity among voters but gradually were reined in by Congress and the courts
PHOENIX -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a last-minute bid by Gov. Jan Brewer to keep thousands of dreamers living in Arizona from getting licenses to drive.
PHOENIX -- Arizona will not be able to enforce controversial limits on medication abortions, at least not now.
PHOENIX (AP) — In a scathing critique of Arizona's criminal justice system, a state appeals court Thursday ordered the dismissal of murder charges against a woman who spent 22 years on death row for the killing of her 4-year-old son.
The Arizona Court of Appeals leveled harsh criticism against prosecutors over their failure to turn over evidence during Debra Jean Milke's trial about a detective with a long history of misconduct and lying. The court called prosecutors' actions "a severe stain on the Arizona justice system."
A three-judge panel of the appeals court said it agreed with Milke's argument that a retrial would amount to double jeopardy.
The failure to disclose the evidence "calls into question the integrity of the system and was highly prejudicial to Milke," the court wrote. "In these circumstances — which will hopefully remain unique in the history of Arizona law — the most potent constitutional remedy is required."
The court said the charges against Milke in the 1989 death of her son Christopher can't be refiled, but prosecutors could appeal Thursday's ruling to the state Supreme Court.
Authorities say Milke dressed her son in his favorite outfit and told him he was going to see Santa Claus at a mall in December 1989. He was then taken into the desert near Phoenix by two men and shot in the back of the head.
Authorities say Milke's motive was that she didn't want the child anymore and didn't want him to live with his father.
She was convicted in 1990 and sentenced to death. The case rested largely on her purported confession to Phoenix police Detective Armando Saldate, which he did not record.
Milke, 50, was on death row for two decades, and the Arizona Supreme Court had gone so far as to issue a death warrant for Milke in 1997. The execution was delayed because she had yet to exhaust federal appeals.
The appeals court said Thursday it wasn't expressing an opinion on Milke's guilt or innocence, though it heavily criticized authorities for staking much of their case on a detective with credibility problems.
A federal appeals court threw out Milke's first-degree murder conviction in March 2013, saying prosecutors knew about a history of misconduct by the detective but failed to disclose it. Maricopa County prosecutors were preparing for a retrial.
Milke's appellate attorney, Lori Voepel, was ecstatic at Thursday's victory.
"We're all thrilled," Voepel said. "We still have the gag order so we can't say much more than we're all thrilled with the opinion."
Milke has been free on bail since September 2013 as she awaited retrial.
"This is really a sock in the gut — it's a cheap shot," said Arizona Milke, Christopher's father and Debra Milke's ex-husband. "She shouldn't walk free, because she's guilty."
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, whose office is handling the case, said he plans to ask the Arizona Supreme Court to overturn Thursday's ruling. Montgomery said the accusations of misconduct happened well before he took over as the county's top prosecutor and would not happen today, citing safeguards such as having detectives record interviews with suspects.
Montgomery also said he would not be pursuing the case if he believed the evidence could not lead to a conviction in Christopher's killing.
"He should not be forgotten in all of this. Justice and due process for Christopher is a right that he has, too," Montgomery said. "And it's the job of prosecutors, unfortunately in situations like this, where we have to be the voice of the voiceless."
Milke has maintained her innocence and denied she ever confessed to the killing. The two men who led her child to his death in the desert were convicted of murder but refused to testify against Milke.
That left jurors with Saldate's word alone that she told him about her involvement. Saldate has since retired, and The Associated Press has made repeated efforts to reach him for comment.
In its ruling overturning Milke's conviction, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited numerous instances in which Saldate committed misconduct in previous cases, including lying under oath and violating suspects' rights. The federal appeals court also asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Saldate had committed civil rights violations.
Prosecutors insist Milke is guilty, but their ability to try her again was limited by the fact that Saldate said he wouldn't testify. He fears potential federal charges based on the 9th Circuit's accusations of misconduct.
In December, Superior Court Judge Rosa Mroz granted Saldate's request to assert his Fifth Amendment right, allowing him to refuse to take the stand.
The state Court of Appeals overturned that ruling in April and said Saldate would be forced to testify at the retrial. Both county and federal authorities said they don't intend to seek charges against the detective based on any of the accusations leveled by the federal appeals court.
Milke, whose mother was a German who married a U.S. Air Force military policeman in Berlin in the 1960s, has drawn strong support from citizens of that nation and Switzerland, neither of which has the death penalty.
Milke's mother died in Germany this year after a battle with cancer. A week before the August death, a judge had denied Milke's request for permission to travel to Germany to visit her mother.
PHOENIX (AP) — Lawyers for the Arizona Legislature are asking the state Court of Appeals to block a judge's order requiring hundreds of millions of dollars in extra school funding payments while they appeal.
A federal judge late Friday voided state laws requiring groups to register before spending money on campaigns — and with it, the reports they're supposed to file on who is behind all that cash.
Something happens when courage shows up with a microphone. Hope sets in and America stands taller. We can use a bit of both right now. It’s my take that the Ferguson, Mo., mess has knocked our nation down a click or two.
PHOENIX -- Saying it's impossible and would wreck the budget, attorneys for state lawmakers are urging a judge to reject a request by Arizona schools for more than $1 billion in inflation funding they were not given.
Attorneys for state lawmakers are urging a judge to reject a request by Arizona schools for more than $1 billion in inflation funding they were not given.
Saying it's impossible and would wreck the budget, attorneys for state lawmakers are urging a judge to reject a request by Arizona schools for more than $1 billion in inflation funding they were not given.
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona is joining a lawsuit that challenges the Obama administration's recently announced executive actions on immigration, Gov. Jan Brewer announced Thursday.
Ann Wilcox’s daily routine looks like any other American Muslim woman’s. She covers her head with a hijab, abstains from alcohol and pork, and rises before sunrise to perform the first of her five daily prayers.
State officials have agreed not to pursue anyone from book sellers to Internet posters under a new “revenge porn” law, at least not for the time being.
They can't gather their first signature for more than seven months, but foes of Republican Diane Douglas, newly elected the state school superintendent, now have the legal ability to start soliciting funds for the effort.
PHOENIX (AP) — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has often clashed with the federal government over the enforcement of immigration laws, has filed a lawsuit to stop new policies announced by President Barack Obama.
The suit filed Thursday in federal court in Washington on Arpaio's behalf contends Obama acted outside his constitutional authority by not going through Congress.
It asks the court to block the changes that include making an estimated 5 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally eligible for work permits and for protection from deportation.
Arpaio said he went to court on behalf of himself and all Americans.
"I am not seeking to myself enforce the immigration laws -- as this is the province of the federal government," he said in a statement. "Rather, I am seeking to have the president and the other defendants obey the U.S. Constitution."
The lawsuit said Obama was "hijacking" previous immigration regulation and law by changing the definition of key terms to "create a radically new and different regime of immigration law and regulation."
Arpaio's lawsuit was filed by Larry Klayman, a conservative activist and attorney who has filed hundreds of lawsuits against the federal government. He founded the government-watchdog group Judicial Watch in 1994 and left the group in 2003.
Obama's administration previously stripped 100 of Arpaio's deputies of their powers to make federal immigration arrests and filed a pending lawsuit against the Sheriff's Office alleging racial profiling and other civil-rights violations.
Arpaio, a frequent critic of the administration's deportation policies, has said the lawsuit against his office was a politically motivated attack by the administration aimed at courting Latino voters.
Arpaio's volunteer cold-case posse also has investigated the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate.
Obama laid out his executive actions during a prime-time television address Thursday.
His changes would mainly cover parents of U.S. citizens and of legal residents as long as the parents have been in the U.S. for five years or more.
Obama also changed enforcement priorities by emphasizing the deportation of new illegal arrivals and criminals.
Congressional Republicans have accused Obama of exceeding his authority by not going through Congress. Obama said in his televised speech that his hand was forced by congressional inaction to fix the broken immigration system.
Not even waiting until President Obama gave his speech Thursday night, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed suit in federal court seeking to block the announced plans to allow millions of people not in this country to remain and work here legally.
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner declared Friday that President Barack Obama was "damaging the presidency" with his unilateral action on immigration. He said the Republican-run House will not stand by, but gave no hint of what the response would be.
Arizona's charter schools are not entitled to another $135 million of taxpayer funds, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
The Attorney General's Office is asking a federal appeals court to overturn a judge's ruling which says gays can marry. But its top litigator insists it's not because he wants to stop same-sex weddings.
PHOENIX -- Hundreds of immigrants in this country illegally who are locked away on state charges will now be entitled to seek bail -- at least in Maricopa County if not elsewhere in Arizona.
Hundreds of immigrants in this country illegally who are locked away on state charges will now be entitled to seek bail — at least in Maricopa County if not elsewhere in Arizona.
A Gilbert spa owner wants the U.S. Supreme Court to rule she has a constitutional right to have fish nibble on her customers' toes and charge them for that.
A federal judge has voided one of the last remaining sections of the controversial package of anti-immigration laws approved by Arizona lawmakers in 2010.
Gay couples who want to wed in Arizona might want to do it — and soon. That's because the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld laws banning same-sex marriage in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.