The announcement that Aramis Ayala, the newly-elected state prosecutor in Orlando, would not seek the death penalty in the high-profile prosecution of an accused cop killer is having reverberations around the state.
Ayala was taken off the case by Governor Rick Scott after she refused to recuse herself, and prompted Dover Republican Ross Spano to call on Hillsborough County’s State Attorney Andrew Warren to “condemn” Ayala’s actions.
“I call on our new State Attorney, Andrew Warren, to resist the political urge to follow the lead of State Attorney Ayala, condemn her actions and publicly commit to following the rule of law,” stated Spano in a statement.
Spano serves as Chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and Vice Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House. He called Ayala’s refusal to seek the death penalty in the case of Markeith Loyd “an inexcusable abuse of her prosecutorial discretion.”
“State Attorney Ayala has inappropriately injected her radical political ideology into a judicial proceeding and I demand she adhere to the rule of law,” Spano said.
Like Ayala, Warren was elected last year as State Attorney. In both cases, they were Democrats running on a platform of criminal justice reform.
In response to Spano, Warren applauded the Legislature and Scott for passing legislation requiring a unanimous jury recommendation to obtain a death sentence.
“Each State Attorney, including Ms. Ayala, after careful and meticulous evaluation, has the full, legal discretion to determine for his or her jurisdiction, whether to employ this ultimate sanction,” he said. “My office will thoroughly and painstakingly evaluate each capital offense and seek the death penalty only in the rare cases that are so heinous, atrocious, and undeserving of mercy as to be considered the worst of the worst in our society. I look forward to working with Representative Spano on a variety of criminal justice issues: from the death penalty, to the dangerous and irresponsible Stand Your Ground legislation currently pending that makes it harder to prosecute violent criminals, to cost-effective programs that increase public safety while reducing long-term recidivism.”