Orlando lawyer and law school adjunct professor Aramis Ayala has filed to challenge fellow Democrat Jeff Ashton for state attorney in the Orlando-based 9th Circuit.

Ayala, who is a former assistant state attorney in that office, said she is running because the office is set up structurally cumbersome making it inefficient in “keeping the community safe and providing justice.”

The lawyer, who also has served as a public defender and in private practice, also has provided legal commentary to one of the Orlando TV stations, Fox-affiliate WOFL. In that role, she has been an occasional public critic of justice in Central Florida.

In a press release announcing her candidacy, she called Ashton “the failed Casey Anthony prosecutor,” referring to the infamous 2011 child murder case in which Anthony was acquitted. She also pointed out that he was identified last fall as someone who had opened up accounts in the AshleyMadison.com website, a dating service specialized in setting up extramarital affairs.

“People from all over Florida are tired and embarrassed of politicians making a mockery of their position,” she stated. The state attorney is one of the gatekeepers to our justice system. We need someone with integrity and a fresh vision to lead.

shton’s campaign responded by welcoming her to the race, saying a public campaign would provide a chance for “us to show how far this office has come over the past three years”

“Running this office is no easy task. A technological makeover is underway with the help of local and state dollars that will make this office much more efficient” Ashton stated in a news release. “At the same time we have transformed the makeup of the office to better reflect the community as a whole. That was a promise I made in 2012 and one I’m proud to have worked so hard on.”

He also gave her a word of advice: she needs to move to Orange or Osceola County if she wins.

Ayala, a Seminole County resident, said she is literally in the process of moving to Orange County now.

Ayala holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida and a law degree from the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law. She was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2003.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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