The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association – which represents the states’s 20 state attorneys including Orlando’s Aramis Ayala – will be filing an amicus brief against her and supporting Gov. Rick Scott‘s power to reassign state attorneys’ cases.
The association filed a motion Wednesday morning requesting the chance to weigh in as a friend of the court on Scott’s side, and the Florida Supreme Court quickly approved it Thursday.
Using executive orders, Scott reassigned 23 first-degree murder cases from Ayala, of Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, to State Attorney Brad King, of the 5th Judicial Circuit, because Ayala announced last month she would not pursue death penalty prosecutions.
Ayala challenged the governor’s authority to do so last week in a write of quo warrento to the Supreme Court, and in a separate lawsuit in U.S. District Court.
Her colleagues, apparently, agree that Scott has the power to intercede and reassign state attorneys’ cases.
The association promised it would file its brief by May 3.
Ayala did not oppose the association’s move. In addition to representing the 20 elected state attorneys, the association also represents more than 2,000 assistant state attorneys in Florida.
The association offered that its friend of the court brief, “would provide the Court useful insight regarding the role of state attorneys as quasi-judicial officers and their duties as prescribed by the constitution and the laws of Florida. The brief would also address the discretionary powers of state attorneys and their accountability for their conduct as well as the authority of the Governor to assign state attorneys to other circuits for the handling of certain cases pursuant to section 27.14 Florida Statutes.”
Section 27.14 of the Florida Statutes details circumstances in which a governor can reassign a state attorney.