A New Florida Prosecutor Says 'No' to the Death Penalty

Rick Scott did exactly that when State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced her refusal to seek a death penalty in any case - including an especially heinous one in which a man is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and a female police officer.

Loyd is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon last December.

On June 19, Loyd will stand trial, accused of killing Clayton. Then, while on the run after killing the officer, Loyd killed an Orange County sheriff's deputy in a auto accident.

After Ayala announced her decision Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott transferred the case from her authority to another State Attorney in a neighboring district.

Stephanie Dixon-Daniels said Friday that having the death penalty on the table in Markeith Loyd's case would drag out the process for her family.

The unusual and firm stance against capital punishment by State Attorney Aramis Ayala in Orlando surprised and angered many law enforcement officials, including the city's police chief, who believed suspect Markeith Loyd should face the possibility of execution.

"I have seen the video of Markeith Loyd executing Lt. Debra Clayton while she lay defenseless on the ground", Mina said.

Bondi excoriated Ayala for a decision she said "sends a risky message to residents and visitors of the greater Orlando area" and went on to call "a blatant neglect of duty and a shameful failure to follow the law as a constitutionally elected officer". Adding to the toll, while law enforcement officials were hunting for him, Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Norman Lewis was killed in a traffic accident.

'She informed me this afternoon that she refuses to do that. "The money the state spends on death penalty cases can be saved to prosecute others", McCann said.

Attorney General Pam Bondi said that announcing a decision not to seek the death penalty "sends a unsafe message" and constitutes a "blatant neglect of duty and a shameful failure to follow the law".

But Jacksonville criminal-defense lawyer Bill Sheppard, who has represented defendants in capital cases for almost five decades, disagreed.

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"I will not be seeking the death penalty in the cases handled in my office", Ayala said Wednesday, according to Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG. "And anybody that's saying she is not upholding the law is not familiar with the law".

"Don't let that death go in vain", said Marino.

"I'm a big supporter of local discretion on filing decisions", Sen.

The struggle highlights the fault lines in Florida's fraught capital punishment system, which has been the subject of scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"My duty is to seek justice, which is fairness, objectivity and decency. Florida is a diverse state with a lot of different attitudes", he said.

Mina wasn't the only one upset with the the prosecution's decision.

The decision led to immediate outrage and backlash by many in the law enforcement community and from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

The Sunshine State's death penalty statutes have recently been under fire, with the U.S. Supreme Court deeming them unconstitutional a year ago.

For much of previous year, executions in Florida were on hold. She may not like the death penalty, but it's part of the job.

The legislature passed a law to change that, requiring a unanimous jury decision for death.

Lawmakers again scurried to address the issue during the first days of the legislative session that began last week, passing a measure requiring unanimous jury recommendations.

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