TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Supreme Court says Republican Gov. Rick Scott has the power to reassign murder cases from a prosecutor who refuses to seek the death penalty.
The court ruled 5-2 Thursday that Orlando-area State Attorney Aramis Ayala showed a misunderstanding of Florida law by not considering use of the death penalty on a case-by-case basis.
Scott has taken more than 25 murder cases from Ayala and reassigned them to a neighboring prosecutor after she said in March that her office would no longer seek the death penalty. Scott and others were outraged that she wouldn't consider the death penalty against Markeith Loyd in the slayings of an Orlando police lieutenant and Loyd's pregnant ex-girlfriend.
Ayala challenged Scott's decision, saying nothing in Florida law requires her to seek the death penalty.
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