Gov. Scott demands answers about Ayala’s office missing death penalty case deadline

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)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) — On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott sent State Attorney Aramis Ayala a letter, demanding an explanation for why her office missed a filing deadline in a death penalty case.

The two have been locked in a battle since Ayala announced last spring that she was not going to seek the death penalty in any case.

The letter was written by Daniel Norby, the general counsel for Scott, and said, “At best this suggests negligence — and, at worst, willful disregard — in the faithful performance of the duties of your constitutional office.”

The latest dispute involves Scott demanding details from Ayala about a review panel she assembled after the state Supreme Court ruled she must consider the death penalty in first-degree murder cases. The letter includes a detailed list of seven questions.

That panel decided to pursue the death penalty for Emerita Mapp, who is accused in the stabbing death of Zackery Ganoe, 20.

Ayala’s office missed the 45-day deadline required to announce it was seeking the death penalty, which could jepordize the case.

WESH 2 News contacted Ayala’s office, which sent a statement saying, “We just received the letter, we are looking into this and once we have a response we will provide it to all of the media.”

Scott has already taken dozens of death penalty cases from Ayala and given them to the Lake County state attorney to prosecute.

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