ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida state attorney says the governor overstepped his bounds when he removed her from a case after she pledged to not pursue the death penalty in any trials.
State Attorney Aramis Ayala filed a motion in court Monday asking a judge to allow her to present that argument in court.
‘‘Every day state attorneys here in Florida make important decisions on who to charge, what to charge, and what to prioritize,’’ Ayala wrote in the motion. ‘‘Giving the governor the tremendous and unfettered discretion to interfere in that decision-making would be unprecedented and could undermine the entire justice system in Florida.’’
Governor Rick Scott removed Ayala from Markeith Loyd’s case and reassigned it to a prosecutor in a neighboring district after Ayala made her announcement against the death penalty last Thursday.
Loyd is charged with first-degree murder in the killings of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and Orlando Police Lieutenant Debra Clayton.
When asked in Tallahassee about Ayala’s motion, Scott said he was shocked Ayala wouldn’t seek the death penalty in Loyd’s case. ‘‘I’m very comfortable that I made the right decision and I had the authority to do it,’’ Scott said.
Scott said he would ‘‘deal with it at the time’’ if Ayala declined to seek the death penalty in other cases. He also did not rule out seeking her removal.