Ayala's past shows no sign of death penalty concerns

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And now she's making national news for refusing to ask for the death penalty in the case of a man charged with murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend and subsequently an Orlando police officer.

In an executive order, Scott removed State Attorney Aramis Ayala, the elected prosecutor in central Florida's Ninth Judicial Circuit, and reassigned the murder case to State Attorney Brad King of the nearby Fifth Judicial Circuit.

The widow of a local officer killed in the line of duty is speaking out after Orlando's chief prosecutor declined to seek the death penalty charge against accused cop killer Markeith Loyd.

An Orlando prosecutor says she will follow an order by Florida's governor transferring an officer-killing case out of her hands after she announced she would no longer seek the death penalty in any cases.

"Some victims will support and some will surely oppose my decision, but I have learned that death penalty traps many victim's families in decades long cycle of uncertainty", she said. I completely disagree with State Attorney Ayala's decision and comments and I am asking her to recuse herself immediately from this case.

Ayala did win praise from death penalty opponents who say that the move challenges the racial and socioeconomic disparities associated with capital punishment.

"By not deciding to pursue death in a handful of cases, we can spend more time pursuing justice in many more cases", she said.

Ayala joined most of the modern world when she made her announcement Thursday.

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Florida lawmakers past year rushed to address the ruling.

Ayala made history in January when she was sworn in as Florida's first African-American State Attorney.

Florida law only allows a governor to suspend an elected official for "malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness, incompetence, or permanent inability to perform official duties", but there is a provision that allows the governor to reassign prosecutors for "good and sufficient" reasons.

So now, the Florida Supreme Court is considering whether or not he'll get a new death penalty hearing. Would he still be actively championing the death penalty if the only victim in this case was Sade Dixon, Loyd's ex-girlfriend?

Following Hurst, Florida still permitted death sentences by non-unanimous jury vote, requiring at least 10 votes rather than 12. "Just as Ms. Ayala has the discretion not to seek the death penalty in a particular case, the governor apparently has the discretion to remove her from the supervisory responsibility of prosecuting the case". On Tuesday, March 14, spokeswoman Eryka Washington told the Orlando Sentinel that Ayala's office was still pursuing the death penalty in all six cases.

"I'm not a puppet for anyone", Ayala said. "She wasn't afraid to speak the truth about how broken the death penalty is, and we're proud to stand with her in her decision to put the resources of her office toward real safety and accountability". A new death penalty bill was signed into law this week.

Ayala said in a statement that she would abide by the governor's choice and decline her right to appeal it.

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