21 more cases taken from anti-death-penalty prosecutor
01:51, Apr 5, 2017
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Loyd is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon in December and Orlando Police Lieutenant Debra Clayton in January. She was elected previous year and is the first African-American state's attorney in Florida.
Those cases have been reassigned to State Attorney Brad King, who Scott also assigned to prosecute accused double murderer Markeith Loyd after Ayala announced that she would not be pursuing the death penalty in that case or any other case. " ... that's the general precedent in my mind, is that this opens the door for governors of all political parties to cherry-pick cases away from prosecutors". "She made a statement that she can not retract, that said, 'I will not seek any death penalty cases here now or in the future.' That's where I'm coming from".
"Whenever decisions are made regarding the prosecution of individuals, the prosecutor must take into consideration the will and the desire of the victim's survivors", he said. "I've sought and had imposed the death penalty in over a dozen cases".
Ayala and her supporters, who includes a group of lawyers, retired judges, retired Florida Supreme Court justices and law professors who signed a letter supporting her, and who, at last count, numbered more than 160, argue that prosecutorial discretion gives her the power to do what she has done. Sen. Randolph Bracy of Orlando penned a piece in the New York Times Tuesday. Five attorneys are qualified to handle death-penalty cases, he said.
Allowing the governor to usurp the authority of a fellow constitutional officer is a step toward despotism that threatens us all.
Six of the newly reassigned cases involve defendants who are awaiting trial.
Ayala announced that she would not seek the death penalty in Loyd's case, or in any cases in the future during a press conference outside of the Orange County Court House in March.
In his executive orders, Scott says he's acting "in obedience to my solemn constitutional duty to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed'".
Ayala has only been in office a few months, and just weeks ago she announced she would not seek capital punishment for a suspected cop killer.
"The Governor is attempting to set a risky precedent that would destroy the idea of independence for State Attorneys throughout Florida who must now fear political retribution ... if they make a decision he disagrees with", Shaw said in a statement.
That's the point. The governor would have us believe this is about the death penalty.
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