Florida Supreme Court rules against Ayala on death penalty cases

02 September, 2017, 01:25 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • State Attorney Aramis Ayala Responds To The Supreme Court Decision

A Florida prosecutor who fought and lost a battle with the governor over her decision not to seek the death penalty said Friday that she will comply with a state Supreme Court decision and seek it in future cases if it is unanimously recommended by a panel of her assistant prosecutors.

Scott hailed Thursday's decision, saying in a prepared statement that it is "a great victory for the many victims and families whose lives have been forever changed by ruthless, evil acts of crime". This panel will evaluate each first-degree murder case in the 9th Judicial Circuit.

In Thursday's ruling, a majority of the Supreme Court found that Scott "did not exceed his authority" when he reassigned the cases. That's why I've used my executive authority to reassign almost 30 cases to State Attorney Brad King.

Ayala Said the following "I respect the decision and appreciate that the Supreme Court of Florida has responded and provided clarification".

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In response to the 5-2 court decision, Ayala announced she is creating a "death penalty review panel", with the aim of regaining power over capital cases in the 9th Judicial Circuit, made up of Orange and Osceola counties. She said moving forward, she excepted the governor would have no reason to take any more cases, but said she would not seek to get back the other 29.

This is a developing story. These horrific cases include Markeith Loyd, an accused cop killer who murdered his pregnant ex-girlfriend and Orlando Police Department Lt. Debra Clayton; Everett Glenn Miller, another alleged cop killer who is accused of ambushing and murdering two Kissimmee Police Officers, Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard; and Callene Marcia Barton and Lakesha Chantell Lewis, who are accused of killing a helpless toddler. "She says the death penalty is broken and does not achieve justice for victims" families. "Is it really the case that every single elected prosecutor in this state may adopt a blanket policy of refusing to apply or enforce any state law with which that prosecutor personally disagrees as a matter of policy?" asked state Solicitor General Amit Agarwal.

Ninth circuit Aramis Ayala and Governor Rick Scott were in a dispute over the handling of death penalty cases. "State Attorney Ayala's statement today leaves too much room for interpretation", Tupps said in a statement.

The court on Thursday upheld Gov. Rick Scott's orders reassigning capital cases from Ayala to another state attorney.

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She did not publicly express any opinions about the death penalty during her campaign, in which she defeated incumbent State Attorney Jeff Ashton in an August 2016 primary open only to registered Democrats.

It's not clear whether Scott will continue to reassign cases.

Justice Peggy Quince concurred with the dissenting opinion.

Thursday's ruling will become final in 15 days if Ayala does not file a motion for a rehearing within that time.

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