Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala fought back this week against Gov. Rick Scott’s attempt to remove her from 23 murder cases in the wake of her announcement that she would no longer seek the death penalty in her jurisdiction.
Ayala filed two lawsuits, one in federal court, the other in the state Supreme Court, on Tuesday, challenging Scott’s authority to remove her from death penalty cases in Orlando.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the federal lawsuit names Scott and the prosecutor he appointed to replace Ayala as defendants. The paper quotes her attorney as saying, “We are asking the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court in Orlando to ensure the integrity and independence of the justice system as both federal and state law require.”
Ayala, a Democrat, took office in January after winning the primary in August, and running unopposed in November. She announced her decision to not seek the death penalty in any cases last month, infuriating many prosecutors and members of law enforcement, who were particularly upset because her office was handling the case of Markeith Loyd, who is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, and an Orlando police officer in two separate incidents.