In an interview with an Orlando area radio host, State Attorney Aramis Ayala further elaborated her stance on the death penalty.
By Jacob Engels
I want to start this article by saying that I wanted so badly for Aramis Ayala to remove the stench that Jeff Ashton left in the offices of the Orange and Osceola State Attorney.
Many thought that it could not get any worse than having an overcharging sex hound State Attorney, but it actually can and has gotten worse.
Inter-office politics, disputes over assignments and leadership roles, and questions about employee pay are things every elected official will struggle with in their first year. For Ayala though, these problems are the least of her worries.
By deciding to not charge Markeith Loyd with death penalty, Ms. Ayala screamed “look at me” to anyone and everyone looking for some reason to have a bone to pick.
Why in the world did she think that this particular case was the proper “test” for her to announce her policy of not charging death penalty? He murdered his pregnant girlfriend and then brutally murdered a police officer. Another law enforcement officer was killed pursuing Loyd.
These were heinous crimes… disgusting and depraved. These were not cases that lack an overwhelming amount of evidence. After weeks of push-back on this decision, Ayala has been removed from the case by the governor and state legislators have worked to cut off funds from her office.
All the while, State Attorney Ayala has vigorously pushed back against allegations about her choice to not seek the death penalty for Loyd or anyone else during her term. Statistics and wrongful convictions prove the death penalty is not a fair or just punishment, she claims.
Critics have pointed to the fact that her campaign was financed heavily by liberal billionaire George Soros, who has worked for years against the use of the death penalty. Did Soros front her campaign the needed resources to secure her stance on the death penalty? Ayala says hell no…
But emails obtained by Local 6 earlier this week show that she was actually receiving talking points from special interest groups about how to handle press surrounding her controversial decision. Sloppy.
From a strategic standpoint, Ayala has been clever in trying to claim the Governor removing her and outrage over her decision is racially motivated. Is that accurate? Not really… though it makes for a grabby headline and distraction.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, who also leads the Florida Sheriff’s Association, slammed Ayala for the missed opportunity in serving justice. Demings is one of the most prominent and well-respected African American law enforcement leaders in the state.
Now Ayala is setting herself up for another round of headlines. Speaking with Fernando Negron on LaGrande 1030AM last Thursday, State Attorney Ayala mostly regurgitated her “talking points.”
For the most part… it was benign, boring, uninteresting 90’s era reasoning about the possibility of wrongful convictions and putting innocent people on death row. Then she described how death penalty required an act “heinous enough”, to be an accurate prescription from a legal standpoint.
The crime had to create such an affect on the community, families of the victim, and otherwise to reach that level of prosecution according to Ayala. Heinous enough… does murdering a former pregnant love interest and police officer sound “heinous enough” to you?
Former lead homicide prosecutor Kenneth Lewis, who reviewed over 100 cases that could have warranted charging the death penalty, remains outraged about Ayala’s decision.
“Never have I seen a case where the death penalty was more warranted and appropriate than in the case of Markeith Lloyd.”
State Attorney Ayala says this is not something she decided to do because of her own personal feelings against the death penalty. However, as she continues to file legal proceedings to get back on the case, the taxpayers are left on the hook paying to defend Ayala. That is a personal decision, and it is costing Orange and Osceola residents big-time.
The workday of Ayala herself, and employees who are supposed to be working for the taxpayer, have become dominated by the State Attorney’s vanity project.
Her decision to not charge the death penalty may have not been personal, but a conclusion she reached by relying on questionable data from groups that aren’t exactly impartial, I don’t think anyone really argues that.
Is this fight really worth it? Is it worth losing funding her office needs to prosecute other crimes? At what point does State Attorney Ayala realize that even if she wins, she doesn’t really win.
While the majority of Orange and Osceola County residents remain hopeful that Ms. Ayala will “right the ship”, I remain skeptical.
Never say never… this is politics after-all and she has several lifetimes to get back on top before reelection… that’s if she does not get removed first.
Jacob Engels is an Orlando based journalist whose work has been featured and republished in news outlets around the globe including Politico, InfoWars, MSNBC, Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Daily Mail UK, Associated Press, People Magazine, ABC, and Fox News to name a few. Mr. Engels focuses on stories that other news outlets neglect or willingly hide to curry favor among the political and business special interests in the state of Florida.<