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Gov. Scott Demanding Answers After Aramis Ayala Lets Killer Off Again

Ayala responded to Governor Rick Scott's letter and also blamed him.

Orlando, FL – One week after Florida Governor Rick Scott sent a letter to State Attorney Aramis Ayala demanding information about a missed filing deadline for a death penalty case, Ayala has a dumbfounding response.

Ayala wrote a letter to the governor blaming him for the missed filing, and asked for information about how he made his decision to take death penalty cases out of her hands earlier this year.

The state attorney failed to file a motion to seek the death penalty before the deadline in the case of Emerita Mapp, who is charged with stabbing Zackery Ganoe to death in April, according to WKMG.

Mapp was also charged with attempted murder for another victim who was found with stab wounds at the scene.

In his letter, Scott requested information as to why the 45-day deadline to file an intent to seek the death penalty in Mapp’s case was missed.

In her letter, Ayala responded that she had been in direct communication with Attorney General Pam Bondi about the issue, and was confident she could have sought the death penalty in Mapp’s case, despite the missed deadline, according to WFTV.

“You re-assigned high-profile cases both before and after Emerita Mapp’s case … However, I am curious to know why you did not take the Emerita Mapp case and reassign it to the Fifth Circuit with the other cases,” Ayala’s letter read.

She said that her office could have re-arraigned Mapp, which would have reset the 45-day deadline.

But on Friday, Dec. 8, Mapp took a plea deal offered by Ayala’s office which allowed her to avoid the death penalty, and was given a life sentence, which Ayala said made the governor’s request moot.

Yes, Aramis Ayala is arguing that she could have sought the death penalty even with the missed deadline, but because she offered a plea deal to avoid the death penalty, her “missed” deadline is isn’t important.

The conflict between Scott and the Osceola-Orange state attorney began earlier this year, and Mapp’s case was the first capital case for Ayala since the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Ayala did not understand Florida law in refusing to seek the death penalty.

In March, Ayala announced that she would not seek the death penalty against cop-killer Markeith Loyd, who murdered his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon in December of 2016, and who murdered Orlando Police Lieutenant Debra Clayton on Jan. 9.

She also said that she would not seek the death penalty in any case that came to her office, a fact she did not disclose when running for her elected office.

On April 3, Scott reassigned the Markeith Loyd case, and 29 other cases, to State Attorney Scott King because Ayala wouldn’t follow Florida law.

Ayala filed a lawsuit against Scott, saying that she was independently elected and that the governor couldn’t take cases away from her.

She also said that the governor was “abusing his authority,” and that it was her discretion which penalty to seek in a case.

Both sides presented arguments to the Florida Supreme Court in June.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled against Ayala.

“Ayala’s blanket refusal to seek the death penalty in any eligible case … does not reflect an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. It embodies, at best, a misunderstanding of Florida law,” their decision read.

In September, Ayala formed a panel of seven assistant state attorneys to decide on a case-by-case basis if the death penalty should be sought.

In his letter to Ayala last week, Scott requested information on her death penalty review panel.

In Monday’s response, Ayala said that she stands for the victims of crime, which Scott has stated repeatedly since the conflict began. She accused the governor of jeopardizing prosecution cases by removing them from her office.

“Your selection process has consequently threatened due process and equal protection under the law. I too stand with victims of crime. But I also stand boldly on, not just the Constitution, but all amendments to it, including the 14th Amendment,” she said.

She also submitted a public records request with her letter for information on the process Scott used to remove cases from her office, including writings, recordings, reports, memoranda, notes of meetings, written policies, news media stories referenced, and communications with other individuals.

Scott has requested records showing the amount of taxpayer-funded money spent during Ayala’s court fight with him over the case removals. She replied that the request had been forwarded to her public records department and that records would be produced “in short order.”

GinnyReed - December Mon, 2017


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