CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND DEATH PENALTY : LAW CASES : UNITED STATES: STATES: FLORIDA : LAW CONSTITUTIONS AND CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES The Constitutional Crisis in Florida We're All Missing

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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND DEATH PENALTY : LAW CASES : UNITED STATES: STATES: FLORIDA : LAW CONSTITUTIONS AND CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES The Constitutional Crisis in Florida We're All Missing

David P. Dillard
Administrator



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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND DEATH PENALTY :

LAW CASES :

UNITED STATES: STATES: FLORIDA :

LAW CONSTITUTIONS AND CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

The Constitutional Crisis in Florida We're All Missing

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The Constitutional Crisis in Florida We're All Missing

By Karl Racine, Beth McCann and Miriam Aroni Krinsky

July 12, 2017 at 3:49 PM

Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/
the-constitutional-crisis-in-florida-were-all-missing/
2017/07/12/16a68970-6299-11e7-84a1-a26b75ad39fe_story.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/ycclxzjd

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This March, Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced that she would
not seek the death penalty in any case before her office. Instead, Ayala
said she would revisit the issue if the chaotic circumstances surrounding
Floridas death penalty  recently struck down twice  changed.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) didnt approve, so he unilaterally reassigned
about two dozen homicide cases from her jurisdiction to a state attorney
known for his death penalty advocacy.

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Now the two are facing off at the Florida Supreme Court in what has become
just the latest constitutional crisis in our country with potentially dire
consequences for our criminal-justice system. At stake is the authority of
elected prosecutors to make decisions about how to handle their criminal
cases. A decision in the case may come as soon as this week.

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Scott argues that he gets the authority for this unprecedented move from a
statute that has historically been used for consensual reassignments.

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But that statute does not cover the impartial, reasoned, entirely
appropriate exercise of discretionary decision-making that Ayala engaged
in here. The governor has no authority under any statute or the Florida
Constitution to usurp Ayalas prosecutorial autonomy, which comes directly
from the constitution. The governor admitted as much when he previously
said that only voters could remove an elected public defender found to
have violated ethics rules.

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That is why we, along with dozens of former prosecutors and judges,
including four former Florida Supreme Court justices and two former U.S.
solicitors general, joined in an amicus brief urging the court to protect
prosecutorial independence and reject the governors attempt to override a
duly elected state attorneys exercise of discretion.

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Ayala was overwhelmingly elected to serve Orange and Osceola counties. She
made her decision after weighing the heinousness of the crimes, the lack
of deterrent value in pursuing the death penalty, the best interests of
victims and their family members, and the millions of dollars needed to
reach execution, concluding that death penalty prosecutions were not in
the best interest of her community.

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This was a transparent and reasoned exercise of her discretion as an
elected prosecutor. Legislatures establish the crimes that can be
prosecuted and the range of punishments sought. But it is the locally
elected prosecutors who must decide which prosecutions and punishments to
pursue. These decisions are an inherent part of the independent exercise
of prosecutorial autonomy  decisions that must be free from political or
executive intrusion.




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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Sincerely,
David Dillard
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