State Attorney Ayala says Florida governor overstepped

Modesto Morganelli
Marzo 21, 2017

Two former chief justices of the Florida Supreme Court and a former Florida State University president are among the lawyers and judges who publicly chastised Gov. Rick Scott on Monday for removing the state attorney in Orlando from prosecuting an alleged cop killer after she announced she would not seek the death penalty.

"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 unsafe precedent", they wrote. In her motion Ayala wrote "During dependency of a hearing in decision on my authority to exercise my discretion without political interference in this and all other proceedings, I will fully share the investigative files for these two cases with the Governor's chosen State Attorney so that the investigations into both cases can continue without delay".

"So the first thing I did was I asked her to recuse herself, and I talked to her and she said she wasn't going to, so I moved the case to Brad King", Scott says.

Scott said Monday in the capital of Tallahassee that he is comfortable with his decision last week to remove the Markeith Loyd case from State Attorney Aramis Ayala's office and transfer it to a State Attorney's Office in a neighboring district.

Loyd is accused of shooting and killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton. "The governor has appointed me".

"I have never seen a situation like this in my career", Lauten said.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina was out of the country when the news broke. "Of course, I was asleep when that phone call came through because of that time change".

"Although, she is not yet sure what she'll do, she said, she will not interfere with King", said the Sentinel.

A spokeswoman for the governor didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday.

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