ORLANDO, Fla. — State Attorney Aramis Ayala, whose views on the death penalty triggered a fight with then-Gov. Rick Scott, will not seek re-election, she announced Tuesday.
- Ayala said her views on death penalty shaped her decision
- Ayala was elected to State Attorney's Office in 2016
- Came into conflict with Gov. Rick Scott over death penalty views
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In a Facebook post, the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office said Ayala would pursue other options, though she did not specify.
Ayala was elected in 2016 in a Democratic primary, where she defeated incumbent Jeff Ashton. The only other challenger was a write-in candidate.
After Markeith Loyd was charged in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer in 2017, Ayala declared that she would not seek the death penalty in that or other cases.
That triggered a fight with Scott, who took away cases from her office.
Ayala later formed a death penalty panel to review cases and decide when to seek the death penalty.
Ayala said she ran for state attorney to reform the prosecutor's office. Among the changes she made and programs she backed:
- Increased diversity in the prosecutor's office
- No longer seeking bail for petty crimes
- Setting up a wrongful convictions unit
- Support domestic violence and human trafficking units
- Project No-No, which helps young people accused of minor crimes avoid having juvenile records
But she said her views on the death penalty and the way it's handled in Florida led to her decision not to run for a second term.
"After the Florida Supreme Court's decision on the death penalty, it became abundantly clear to me that death penalty law in the state of Florida is in direct conflict with my view and my vision for the administration of justice," Ayala said.
"Now as state attorney, those views will not impact the administration of law, and I will continue to follow the law," she continued. "But I also realize that it's time for me to move forward, and to continue the pursuit of justice in a different capacity."
Former Chief Judge Belvin Perry says he’s considering a run for Ayala’s office.
“What she did was rule out it without looking at it on a case-by-case basis,” Perry said.
“Unfortunately, there are some crimes that are so horrible they merit the death penalty," he said.
Attorney Kevin Miles Morenski and prosecutor Ryan Williams have both filed to run for State Attorney for the 9th Judicial Circuit.
Spectrum News 13 is sitting down one-on-one with Ayala on Wednesday to talk to her more about her decision to not seek re-election.