Supreme court allows prosecutors' brief in Ayala case

Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala
Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala (WKMG-TV)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday approved a request from a statewide group of prosecutors to file a brief supporting Gov. Rick Scott in a legal battle about removing Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala from nearly two-dozen death penalty cases.

The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday for permission to file a friend-of-the court brief in the case. The Supreme Court granted the request, with the association required to file the brief by a May 3 deadline.

Ayala, the state attorney in Orange and Osceola counties, sued Scott because the governor stripped her office of 23 death penalty cases after she announced she would not seek capital punishment in any cases --- including the high-profile case of accused cop-killer Markeith Loyd.

Scott reassigned the cases to Ocala-based State Attorney Brad King, an outspoken supporter of the death penalty.

In seeking approval to file the friend-of-the-court brief, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association said it would "provide the (Supreme) Court useful insight regarding the role of state attorneys as quasi-judicial officers and their duties as prescribed by the Constitution and the laws of Florida. The brief would also address the discretionary powers of state attorneys and their accountability for their conduct as well as the authority of the governor to assign state attorneys to other circuits for the handling of certain cases."