Rick Scott Defends Reassigning Aramis Ayala's Cases In Court
Governor Rick Scott is defending his decision to reassign 23 capital murder cases to a neighboring state attorney.
Scott took 23 capital murder cases away from Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala after she said her office will not be seeking the death penalty. Late Wednesday night, Scott filed his response in court, arguing that a 1905 law gives him the authority to reassign cases to better serve justice.
Stetson Constitutional Law Professor Louis Virelli said the constitution trumps state law, favoring Ayala.
“I think it is a fair argument to say this particular statute is not designed to have a governor reassign a case when he disagrees with the state attorneys position," Virelli said. "That is complicated by the fact that the state attorney appears to be taking a blanket position.”
The governor also argued that Ayala didn’t campaign on the death penalty.
“And I do think that’s important, because had she said this during her election campaign and been elected on that platform, she’d have an even stronger argument," Virelli said.
Virelli said it’s possible the Supreme Court could send the lawsuit down to lower courts without ruling on the big issues. Ayala is asking the Florida Supreme Court to give her back the capital murder cases.