Five Democratic lawmakers asked the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday for permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala in a legal battle with Gov. Rick Scott about death-penalty cases.
The motion to file a brief was submitted by Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens; Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth; Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale; Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale; and Rep. Sean Shaw, D-Tampa.
The motion says, in part, that the Democrats would “provide an alternative perspective” to arguments by House Republican leaders, who are backing Scott in the case.
Ayala, the state attorney in Orange and Osceola counties, sued Scott because the governor stripped her office of 23 death penalty cases after she announced she would not seek capital punishment in any cases — including the high-profile case of accused cop-killer Markeith Loyd.
Scott reassigned the cases to Ocala-based State Attorney Brad King, an outspoken supporter of the death penalty. In their motion, the Democratic lawmakers said they “believe they can assist this court in its determination of whether the governor acted within his constitutional and statutory authority when he issued executive orders reassigning a number of first-degree murder cases from the petitioner (Ayala) to another state attorney.”