Activists take support for Aramis Ayala to governor

By Troy Kinsey, Capitol Bureau Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, April 20, 2017, 9:57 PM EDT

Activists outraged over Gov. Rick Scott's removal of Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala from dozens of murder cases because of her refusal to seek the death penalty took their complaints directly to the governor's office Thursday.

Representing a group called Organize Florida, they hand-delivered "official complaints" to Scott's office. The papers call on the governor to reconsider his decision, which is being challenged by Ayala in a lawsuit before the Florida Supreme Court.

Scott has said that Ayala exceeded her prosecutorial discretion in refusing to seek the death penalty under any circumstances. The activists, however, called the governor's move a brazen one predicated on contempt for Ayala as a progressive female. They also sought to connect Scott's decision to the controversy surrounding state Sen. Frank Artiles (R-Miami), who is facing expulsion from the Senate over an expletive-filled string of insults he hurled at colleagues Monday night.

"The misogyny, all of this abuse of power (by) legislators," Robin Harris said. "I feel if we see our governor with that type of behavior, how else will that be an example for the legislature and those who follow? This is a spill-out."

Some Republican legislators want Scott to go a step further and suspend Ayala from office. They've drafted a legal brief urging the Supreme Court to dismiss Ayala's suit.