Tuesday, March 21, 2017
DEATH PENALTY -- 100 Legal Experts: Scott Violated Constitution by Removing Prosecutor Aramis Ayala
Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT did not have the power to remove Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala in a death penalty case. So say some 100 legal experts.
Scott removed Ayala last week after she said she would not seek the death penalty against Loyd, who is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.
Former Chief Justices Harry Lee Anstead and Gerald Kogan — both of whom have raised questions about the death penalty in the past and were appointed by Democratic governors — signed the letter along with other current or former judges, prosecutors and law professors.
Other notable names are Gil Garcetti, the former Los Angeles County district attorney who oversaw the O.J. Simpson murder case and Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project,
They wrote that Scott’s executive order was “unprecedented” and “deeply concerning.”
“We believe that this effort to remove State Attorney Ayala infringes on the vitally important independence of prosecutors, exceeds your authority, undermines the right of residents in Orange and Osceola counties to the services of their elected leaders, and sets a dangerous precedent,” the letter states.
The letter writers say they didn’t all agree with Ayala’s decision but did think that she had the authority to make it.
By removing her, Scott “undercuts the decision-making powers” of a local elected official.
They asked that Scott reverse his decision and return the case to Ayala.
On Monday during Loyd’s court hearing, Ayala said she may appeal Scott’s decision.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
You can read the letter here.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 407-420-5471 or @DavidHarrisOS