Anti-death-penalty prosecutor says Gov. Rick Scott overstepped authority

State attorney challenges Florida governor's removal of her from case

Loyd hearing turns into battle of state attorneys

She said she still wants to be part of the prosecution.

In a letter, more than 100 current and former law professors, judges, prosecutors and lawyers told Scott they were "deeply troubled" and that his removal of State Attorney Aramis Ayala from the prosecution of accused killer Markeith Loyd "sets a risky precedent".

A Florida state attorney says the governor overstepped his bounds when he removed her from a case after she pledged to not pursue the death penalty in any cases.

Gov. Rick Scott removed Ayala from Loyd's case and reassigned it to another state attorney after Ayala made her announcement against the death penalty Thursday.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala made the assertion Monday in a legal motion that asks a judge to allow her to present that argument in court.

A simple status hearing in the murder case against Loyd turned immediately to confusion when Ayala showed up in court.

Lloyd is charged with murdering Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton on January 9 and, several weeks earlier, his pregnant former girlfriend, Sade Dixon.

A triple murder suspect representing himself; a state attorney who declared she will never seek out the death penalty in her cases.

"The filing of the governor's executive order divests Ms. Ayala of any jurisdiction", State Attorney Brad King said.

Ayala said in Monday's motion that the governor had no authority to remove her. Both Aramis and State Attorney Brad King, the prosecutor appointed by Scott to take over the case, were in the courtroom together.

On the other hand, more than 100 lawyers, two former Florida Supreme Court justices included and three dozen current and former judges and prosecutors have gone to bat for Ayala, saying Scott has gone too far.

"We believe that this effort to remove State Attorney Ayala infringes on the vitally important independence of prosecutors, exceeds your authority, undermines the right of residents in Orange and Osceola counties to the services of their elected leaders, and sets a unsafe precedent", they wrote.

"All of this is a little unusual", said Judge Frederick J. Lauten.

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