TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The furor over the state attorney in Orlando refusing to pursue death cases is growing at the state Capitol, where lawmakers now want every death-eligible case in the circuit transferred to a prosecutor who will pursue death.
Larry Darnell Perry is facing murder charges for killing his infant son. His case went all the way to the state Supreme Court last year. It was used to uphold Florida’s death penalty.
Perry is from Osceola county, where the prosecutor said she won't seek death against him. Now, Rep. Bob Cortes wants the Perry case and at least four others transferred to a new prosecutor.
“When she threw a blanket statement and said she would not do any of them because of the five reasons that she does not support the death penalty, she’s not using prosecutorial discretion, she’s using her own,” Cortes said.
Cortes is also urging the governor to suspend prosecutor Aramis Ayala.
“We are going to review our options, but on Thursday, when I reassigned the case to Brad King, she signed off on it," Gov. Rick Scott said. "Then, on Monday morning, for whatever reason, she’s changed her mind.”
If Scott were to suspend the prosecutor, she would face a trial by the state Senate.”
But not everyone is calling for the prosecutor to get booted. The Conference of Catholic Bishops said she is echoing what they have been saying for years.
“Mainly the high cost of the death penalty over life without parole," Ingrid Del Gado said. "The disproportionate application among the severely mentally ill, the poor and minorities, and also the effect on victims' family members through a prolonged judicial process.
Three House members voted against recent legislation calling for a unanimous jury in death cases. One of them has filed legislation to repeal the death penalty.