State Attorney in hot seat after Gov. Scott demands answers on death penalty decision

By Bailey Myers, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, December 05, 2017, 7:25 PM EST

In six days, State Attorney Aramis Ayala must answer to Governor Rick Scott as to why she failed to seek the death penalty in a violent murder case here in Central Florida.

The State Attorney has not commented on the issue.

Earlier this year Ayala said she wouldn’t seek the death penalty in any case in the 9th Judicial Circuit. The Supreme Court said under Florida law, she has to review each case individually.

In response, she created a panel within her office to do just that and decide whether to recommend the death penalty.

Despite their recommendation to seek the death penalty in the case against Mapp, she didn’t file to seek the death penalty.

Retired Judge Eaton says the law is pretty clear and now that the deadline has passed — death is off the table.

Now he says the question is whether this request from the Governor’s Office could pose a threat Ayala’s career as a state attorney.

“The law provides the Governor with the ability to suspend or remove any public official for malfeasance or non-malfeasance in office, and I don’t know if negligence amounts to malfeasance,” said retired Judge Eaton.

According to the notice from the Governor’s office, they also ask for the billing documents from the time Ayala retained an attorney to represent her case against the Governor in that previously mentioned Supreme Court decision. She has until March first to supply those.