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Prosecutors, Judges Back Orlando State Attorney That Refuses To Apply Death Penalty

Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala speaks with reporters about her decision to not pursue the death penalty during her administration.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Dozens of prosecutors and judges from around the nation have filed a legal brief in support of a Florida prosecutor who refuses to seek the death penalty.

The brief filed Friday with the Florida Supreme Court backs State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s right to decide not to seek capital punishment in cases in her district covering the Orlando area.

After Ayala recently announced her decision, Florida Gov. Rick Scott removed her from about two dozen death-penalty cases.

Ayala is challenging Scott’s authority to do that before the Florida Supreme Court.

The brief filed Friday says Scott has no authority to interfere with Ayala’s cases.

Separately, an investigation is underway after a noose was mailed to Ayala’s office.

Ayala became Florida’s first African-American state attorney when she was elected last year.

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