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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Florida: Judge sides with governor in prosecutor removal over death penalty

State Attorney Aramis Ayala
State Attorney Aramis Ayala
Florida's governor has the right to remove a state attorney from a case after the prosecutor said she would not seek the death penalty, a judge said Tuesday as he denied a request to delay the proceedings.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala said earlier this month that she wouldn't seek the death penalty for a man charged in the December slayings of his ex-girlfriend and a police officer.

After her announcement, Republican Gov. Rick Scott removed her from the case and appointed a new prosecutor.

Ayala, a Democrat, said the governor overstepped his authority and she is fighting to keep the case. Ayala has said there is no evidence that shows the death penalty improves public safety and it's costly and drags on for years for the victims' families.

She asked a judge to delay proceedings for 2 weeks while she prepares an argument for the Florida Supreme Court. But Chief Justice Frederick J. Lauten denied her request Tuesday and said State Attorney Brad King, who was appointed by the governor, will remain as the chief prosecutor.

The judge said Ayala can still file her argument with the high court, but the case against Markeith Loyd would move ahead, with the next hearing scheduled for Monday. Loyd is charged with the 1st-degree murder in the killings of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon and Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton.

Loyd, who has previously cursed at judges during previous court appearances, was subdued during the hearing Tuesday. He objected to Ayala being removed from the case.

Ayala, who is the 1st elected African-American state attorney in Florida, said in court documents that the governor's actions are unprecedented and his interference in the decision-making by state attorneys could undermine Florida's judicial system.

Source: news-journalonline.com, March 29, 2017

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