Florida Prosecutor Suspends Use of Death Penalty



The new chief prosecutor in Orlando announced that her office will no longer seek the death penalty.

The decision by Aramis Ayala, the state attorney for the 9th Judicial Court, was announced Thursday.

Ayala said she made the decision for several reasons, including the death penalty's failure to deter crime and the cost of taxpayer money for capital punishment cases that often drag on for decades. 

"I am prohibited from making the severity of sentences the index of my effectiveness," she said on Thursday, according to The New York Times.

"Punishment is most effective when it happens consistently and swiftly. Neither describe the death penalty in this state."

Seeking life sentences, she said, would guarantee that "violent offenders will never be released."

CBN News has reported why many are reconsidering their stance on the death penalty.

According to Equal Justice USA, many in the faith community praise Ayala's move.

"As pastors, we recognize that this is a difficult and sensitive matter and are committed to finding holistic healing alternatives," said Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition.

He added, "By naming a broken program, Ms. Ayala creates hope in the community for working together to find better alternatives."

Rev. Dr. Russell L. Meyer, Executive DirectorFlorida Council of Churches said, "I applaud State Attorney Ayala's announcement to no longer seek the death penalty. People of faith across Florida are deeply troubled by capital punishment--its needless destruction of human life, its toll on murder victims' families, and its enormous cost to the state."

"Aramis Ayala was elected as State Attorney for the Orlando area because of her promise to bring reform to the criminal justice system. It is refreshing to see her live up to her commitments and embrace policies that achieve accountability and safety without sacrificing fairness. As an organization that represents people of faith, her decision to reject a death penalty system that has been disproportionately used against poor people and communities of color is an act of moral leadership," said Wes Lathrop, Executive Director of Faith in Florida.

Meanwhile, Florida's governor reassigned a case assigned to Ayala that involved the killing of an Orlando police officer.

Fox News reports that a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday that the governor was taking Ayayla off the case after her office announced it would not longer seek the death penalty in cases. 


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