Thursday, July 19, 2018
Politics

Florida prosecutor Aramis Ayala repeats that she'll seek death penalty

ORLANDO — A Florida prosecutor who fought and lost a battle with the governor over her decision not to seek the death penalty said Friday that she will comply with a state Supreme Court decision and seek it in future cases if it is unanimously recommended by a panel of her assistant prosecutors.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala made her announcement a day after the state's high court upheld Republican Gov. Rick Scott's power to reassign her first-degree murder cases to another prosecutor.

The Orlando-area state attorney said a seven-member review panel of assistant state attorneys in her office will review all first-degree murder cases and then recommend to her which cases warrant seeking the death penalty.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Florida Supreme Court backs Gov. Rick Scott in Orlando death-penalty dispute.

Ayala said she won't have a say in the decisions the seven members come up with.

"I have vested my authority into the review panel and I have no intention of usurping the authority which I granted," Ayala said from the steps of the Orange County Courthouse.

She said that if the review panel, comprised of six prosecuting attorneys along with the assigned state attorney, reaches a unanimous decision to seek the death penalty she will accept their recommendation. She said the panel includes attorneys who have sought the death penalty in past cases and are not opposed to pursuing capital punishment going forward.

"I have chosen this team of experienced prosecutors who I am extremely confident will follow the law," she said. "None of them has either expressed or has been confirmed as having no opposition to death penalty."

Ayala and Scott have been entangled in a power struggle since she said in March she would not consider seeking the death penalty in any homicide case. That prompted Scott to remove more than 25 first-degree murder cases, including the upcoming Markeith Loyd trial, from the elected official's office and give them to special prosecutor. Ayala's fight to keep the cases reached the Florida Supreme Court, which ruled against her Thursday.

Ayala said Friday she will not continue to fight to have those cases already taken away returned to her office. But she said she intends to remain over all future first-degree murder cases.

"I respect the decision and appreciate that the Supreme Court of Florida has responded and issued an opinion, outlining its interpretation of the facts and circumstances of this case as well as Florida and other state law," Ayala said. "This has now set the stage for how I will move forward."

John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, said the governor will "continue to review" the actions of Ayala's office, but added that "the governor must be convinced that the death penalty will be sought as outlined in Florida law, when appropriate. The governor will always stand with crime victims and their families."

Comments
At St. Pete rally, protesters call Trump’s remarks on Russia ‘treason’

At St. Pete rally, protesters call Trump’s remarks on Russia ‘treason’

ST. PETERSBURG — Linda and Jack Miller braved the humidity at Demens Landing on Wednesday night for a simple reason:"Treason," said Linda Miller, 66.The St. Petersburg couple joined more than 100 protesters toting signs, pins and megaphones at the "T...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Meet the man who might have brought on the age of ‘downloadable guns’

Meet the man who might have brought on the age of ‘downloadable guns’

During the summer of 2012, Cody Wilson hung around J&J, a car-repair shop run by two "goofy" guys in their late 20s. The Austin warehouse was crowded with engine blocks, car parts and Pelican boxes that never seemed to have been opened, but the 24-ye...
Published: 07/18/18
‘She was like a novelty’: How alleged Russian agent Maria Butina gained access to elite conservative circles

‘She was like a novelty’: How alleged Russian agent Maria Butina gained access to elite conservative circles

WASHINGTON - For nearly five years, the young Russian political-science student was an unusual fixture at the most important events of the U.S. conservative movement.Maria Butina, who was indicted this week on charges of being a covert Russian agent,...
Published: 07/18/18
PolitiFact: Fact-checking the Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit

PolitiFact: Fact-checking the Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit

President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin made inaccurate statements to the media following their one-on-one talks in Helsinki about election meddling, global terrorism and nuclear nonproliferation.Here’s a rundown of our fact-checks.Trump:...
Published: 07/17/18
Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address on values

Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address on values

JOHANNESBURG — Former U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday took aim at "strongman politics" in his highest-profile speech since leaving office, urging people around the world to respect human rights and other values now under threat in an imp...
Published: 07/17/18
Romano: Excuse me Gov. Scott, but you’re a hypocrite

Romano: Excuse me Gov. Scott, but you’re a hypocrite

Hypocrisy, thy name is Rick Scott.And, yes, I owe Shakespeare an apology.But I think Florida’s governor owes all of us an apology.This isn’t about one man’s opinion, and it isn’t about philosophical differences. This is about a politician who is publ...
Published: 07/17/18
Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

HELSINKI — Standing next to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump openly questioned his own intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Moscow was to blame for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election to Trump’s benefit and seemed to accept Putin’s i...
Published: 07/16/18

Pasco Political Notebook

Hunter, Murphy speak to Democratic ClubThe Trinity Democratic Club will host candidates Chris Hunter (running for U.S. Congress in District 12) and Amanda Murphy (running for state Senate in District 16) as guest speakers at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. ...
Published: 07/16/18
Giant pork pile awaits Americans as trade wars risk exports

Giant pork pile awaits Americans as trade wars risk exports

Donald Trump’s trade wars are making pork a bargain.American production is poised to reach an all-time high this year, and output is forecast to surge again in 2019. The supply boom comes as tariffs from China and Mexico threaten to curb export deman...
Published: 07/16/18
Sacha Baron Cohen still knows how to punk America, but his new show erodes what little trust we have left

Sacha Baron Cohen still knows how to punk America, but his new show erodes what little trust we have left

Sacha Baron Cohen’s return to incognito trickery is, in current conditions, a little like pouring rubbing alcohol into the nation’s open wounds.Employing the same ingenious commitment and subterfuge that made him famous in the guise of Ali G., Borat ...
Published: 07/15/18