Presidents and US Attorneys General are given the tasks of firing lawyers who don’t do their jobs. But, at times, state governors have to step up to the firing place too. Florida state Governor Rick Scott had to do just that with Florida State’s Attorney Aramis Ayala.
Governor Scott wants the death penalty for Markeith Loyd, a man accused of killing a female cop and his pregnant ex-girlfriend. Authorities say his crimes were heinous, making him a prime candidate for capital punishment.
However, Florida State’s Attorney Aramis Ayala says that she refuses to seek the death penalty for any case. That includes the case of Markeith Loyd. Scott announced to the press that:
“Every citizen should be outraged at her actions.”
“I will not be seeking the death penalty in the cases handled in my office,” Ayala said Wednesday, according to Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG.
CBS News reported:
Ayala cited time, resources and cost to taxpayers in her decision to not pursue the death penalty for [Markeith] Loyd or any other accused criminal. Loyd, 41, is accused of shooting and killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, 24, on Dec. 13 at her home in Pine Hills. Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton was shot four times outside an Orlando Walmart in January after she received a tip that Loyd was at the store.
“By choosing to seek life sentences over death, we can assure that violent offenders will never be released. They will never continue to drain resources from this state with decades of appeals,” Ayala said.
Ayala gained notoriety last year when she unseated an incumbent state attorney with hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds — some reportedly traced to reclusive billionaire George Soros. Florida Politics reported during her campaign:
A political action committee associated with George Soros has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on television commercials and other advertising to get Aramis Ayala elected state attorney in the Orlando-based 9th Judicial Circuit.
Federal Communication Commission records show Safety & Justice has purchased at least $152,745 in TV commercials on WESH-TV (NBC Channel 2) and another $94,000 on WFTV (ABC Channel 9.) Other paperwork has been filed at other Orlando TV stations to place commercials, including at WKMG (CBS Channel 6) and WOFL (Fox Channel 35, but ad buy reports have not yet been posted by the FCC.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi called Ayala’s decision “a blatant neglect of duty and a shameful failure to follow the law.”
Local law enforcement officers were appalled by the prosecutor’s refusal to seek the maximum penalty against Loyd.
“I have seen the video of Markeith Loyd executing Lt. Debra Clayton while she lay defenseless on the ground. She was given no chance to live. A cop killer — who also killed his pregnant girlfriend — should not be given that chance,” Orlando police Chief John Mina said in a statement, according to CBS News. “The heinous crimes that he committed in our community are the very reason we have the death penalty as an option under the law.”
Scott asked that Ayala recuse herself from the Loyd matter: (Click here to see the tweet.)
Ayala refused to step down and she got canned as a result.
“I completely disagree with State Attorney Ayala’s decision and comments,” Scott said. “She has made it abundantly clear that she will not fight for justice for Lt. Debra Clayton and our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day.”
2017 appears to be the year for firing government lawyers.
Before Jeff Sessions was confirmed as President Donald Trump’s attorney general, Trump had to fire the acting AG for refusing to defend the his executive order on refugees.
Later it was Sessions’ turn. He canned 46 Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys.
In Ayala’s case, hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds — some reportedly from Soros — went right down the drain along with her position.
The unemployment line is getting longer for lawyers these days.