Stating that, “After the Florida Supreme Court’s decision on the death penalty, it became abundantly clear to me that the death penalty law in the state of Florida is in direct conflict with my view and my vision for the administration of justice,” Aramis Ayala announced that she will not seek re-election as Orange-Osceola State Attorney.
Ayala made the announcement in a video posted on her Facebook page.
Soon after she was elected in 2016, Ayala declared that she would no longer seek the death penalty in murder cases prosecuted in her district. In response, then-Gov. Rick Scott re-assigned approximately 24 of her office’s homicide cases to a prosecutor in another district. Ayala challenged the decision, and in 2017, the Florida Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision, ruled in favor of Scott. (The majority opinion was written by a judge who had been appointed to the Supreme Court months earlier by Scott.)
After the ruling, Ayala convened a Death Penalty Review Panel of seven assistant state attorneys to assess first degree murder cases in her district and recommend charges.
In her Facebook statement Ayala, the first African-American state attorney in Florida history, said that her efforts to diversify the SA’s office “to better reflect the rich diversity of the community in which we live,” meant she was able to “raise the standard of prosecutorial accountability.”
Ayala will remain in office until her term is up in 2020.