Cuts planned for Orlando office of anti-death-penalty prosecutor

In a press conference on the steps of the Orange County Courthouse, Florida Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala announces Thursday, March 16, 2017, that her office will no longer pursue the death penalty as a sentence in any case brought before the 9th Judicial Circuit of Florida. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Florida legislators plan to take more than $1 million and 21 jobs away from a state prosecutor who announced she won’t seek the death penalty anymore.

Top Republicans announced the plan on Wednesday, the same day an association of Florida prosecutors said that Gov. Rick Scott can legally take away almost two dozen cases from State Attorney Aramis Ayala in Orlando for refusing to seek the death penalty.

Ayala has said previously that the planned $1.3 million cut and loss of jobs could severely impact her office’s ability to prosecute crimes.

The state prosecutor has come under fire after she announced she wouldn’t seek the death penalty in the case of Markeith Loyd or any other case. Loyd is charged with killing an Orlando police lieutenant and his pregnant ex-girlfriend earlier this year.

Scott took the Loyd case and almost two dozen other cases away from Ayala and reassigned them to a neighboring prosecutor. Ayala is challenging those orders before the Florida Supreme Court, saying the governor had no authority to do so.

The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association filed a friend-of-the-court brief Wednesday saying the governor did have the authority.

The prosecutors association said Ayala was attempting to legislate from her office in violation of the Florida Constitution.

The brief called Ayala’s decision not seek the death penalty “an abuse of discretion and a neglect of her duties.”

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