Florida governor Rick Scott reassigned 21 first-degree murder cases in Orange and Osceola counties to other prosecutors after he ultimately acknowledged that State Attorney Aramis Ayala had an agenda other than that of justice.
Ayala campaigned for the position in November with $1.38 million donated to her by the Florida Safety & Justice PAC, which is funded by billionaire liberal activist George Soros. Once on the job, she refused to ever seek the death penalty for any suspect.
According to a report in The Washington Times, the last straw came when Ayala declared in a press conference on March 16 that “she would not seek the death penalty against Markeith Loyd, who has been charged in the murders of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon in December and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton in January, or any other defendants.”
“While I currently do have [the] discretion to pursue death sentences, I have determined that doing so is not in the best interest of this community or in the best interests of justice,” Ayala, a Democrat, told reporters.
Governor Scott’s response was to reassign the case to a prosecutor in another circuit. He followed that up with the decision to reassign all of Ayala’s current cases “in the interest of justice” via this week’s executive order.
“Each of these cases I am reassigning represents a horrific loss of life,” Scott said, adding that the victims’ families “deserve a state attorney who will take the time to review every individual fact and circumstance before making such an impactful decision.”
Ayala has fired back at the governor, accusing him of abusing his power; her attorney said that she does plan to fight the order.
State attorney spokeswoman Eryka Washington told reporters on Monday, “Ms. Ayala remains steadfast in her position [that] the governor is abusing his authority and has compromised the independence and integrity of the criminal justice system.”
In 2015 and 2016, the Soros-backed network of state Safety & Justice committees funded at least ten other candidates for prosecutor through generous contributions which helped nine of them to win elections in ten states.
Soros is known to oppose the death penalty and stands behind the Black Lives Matter movement.
Ousted incumbent Jeff Ashton accused Ayala of trying to buy the office.
“I am not a puppet, never have been a puppet, and there is no one pulling my strings. I made the independent decision to run for state attorney because I want the job,” she fired back, despite her massive funding from Soros.
The issue caused outrage on social media when it was reported that a Seminole County clerk’s office employee resigned last month after saying on Facebook that Ayala “should be tarred and feathered if not hung from a tree.”
After calling on the governor to get rid of Ayala, GOP state Rep. Bob Cortes said he received a threat on his Facebook page and had to call the police. “Basically, they were in disagreement of what position I took, and they called me a traitor and [said] that my family was in danger.”
Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Florida Legislative Black Caucus agreed with Ayala’s stance, calling Scott’s order “an unfettered and uninformed power grab.”
However, according to Scott, the reassigned cases are so heinous that they are absolutely eligible for death-penalty consideration.
“Some of the victims include a teenager whose life was taken before he could bravely testify as a witness to a dangerous crime, a single mother who was abducted and killed as she called for help, and a young child whose life was brutally cut short,” he described. “I cannot imagine the pain their families endure each day and we will do all we can to aggressively fight for justice.”
H/T: The Washington Times
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