A group of over 40 current and former State Supreme Court Justices, Judges, State and District Attorneys have come together to file a brief in support of Orange Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala. Ayala announced last month she would not seek the death penalty in the Markeith Loyd Case or any other cases received by her office and was subsequently taken off of the Loyd case and almost two dozen other murder cases by Governor Rick Scott.
The Amicus brief contends that “The state attorney’s discretion in deciding whether and how to prosecute’ is ‘absolute.’ ‘A judicial attempt to interfere with the decision whether and how to prosecute violates the executive component of the state attorney’s office.’ By the same token, an attempt by the executive to interfere with the decision whether and how to prosecute threatens to violate the judicial component of the state attorney’s office.”
Earlier this week, the Florida House was allowed to assist Rick Scott in his case against Ayala by being given the ability to file briefs on his behalf as well.
The brief is signed by eight former state Supreme Court justices, including former Chief Justices Gerald Kogan, Harry Lee Anstead, Rosemary Barkett, and former Justice James E.C. Perry of Florida; two former Solicitors General of the United States, five current and former state Attorneys General,12 current and former elected District Attorneys and State’s Attorneys, and more than a dozen current and former state and federal prosecutors and legal community leaders.
“By seeking to remove Ayala from all cases that might implicate the death penalty, the Governor does serious damage to the fundamental values of separation of powers and the democratic process, and threatens the bedrock principle of prosecutorial independence upon which much of our criminal justice system rests,” the brief adds.
Loyd is accused of murdering OPD Lieutenant Debra Clayton and Sade Dixon, who was pregnant at the time of her death. Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Norm Lewis was also killed in the following manhunt for Loyd.