USA | Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death is a terrible opportunity for Trump

"Sometimes it felt like she was America’s last hope. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court judge since 1993, achieved celebrity status during Trump’s four years. Affectionately given the nickname “Notorious R.B.G” by a slew of online followers, she was the subject of superhero memes and the inspiration for much light-hearted merchandise (Urban Outfitters stocks T-shirts emblazoned with her face and her famously blunt quotes, and I gifted a friend in Brooklyn a cuddly Ginsburg doll for her newborn last year.)
Beneath the jokes, the quotes and the well-designed tote bags, however, ran an undercurrent of anxiety and fear. The fact that Supreme Court judges have lifetime appointments meant that many were morbidly obsessed with Ginsburg — who battled cancer on numerous occasions, and died of its complications today — staying alive long enough to get to the election. She herself clearly felt the same way, if NPR’s reports about her dying wishes are to be believed: “My most fervent wish is …

Aramis Ayala's office to seek death penalty against woman accused in Osceola hotel stabbing

Rick Scott, Aramis Ayala
Prosecutors in Osceola County will seek the death penalty against a woman accused of stabbing and killing a man at an Osceola County hotel — the first time Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala's office will do so since she took office earlier this year.

Emerita Mapp, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Zackery Ganoe, 20. She is also charged with attempted murder of another man in the hotel room, robbery, evidence tampering and possession of a stolen credit card. A notice to seek the death penalty was filed with the Osceola County clerk of courts Tuesday.

Ganoe was found dead at the Days Inn on Polynesian Boulevard the morning of April 11, court records show. Another man was found outside the room with serious injuries.

“This was a violent and horrific crime. Two young men were attacked viciously, one losing his life,” Osceola County sheriff’s spokesman Jacob Ruiz said at the time.

The man who survived, Andrew Bickford, told deputies that he came back from breakfast the morning of April 11 and found a woman with a handgun, records show. The woman told Bickford to get on the ground. Bickford told deputies she pulled out a knife and cut his neck, then went through his pockets and took his wallet and cell phone, records show. Bickford said he saw his friend, Ganoe, lying motionless on the hotel room floor.

Bickford managed to crawl out of the room and into the hallway. That’s the last thing he remembered, he told deputies. He was found and rushed to Osceola Regional Medical Center.

Ayala, who took office in January, announced in March that she would not seek the death penalty in any case in Orange or Osceola counties. Over the following months, Gov. Rick Scott signed executive orders taking 29 first-degree cases away from her office and assigning them to State Attorney Brad King of Ocala.

Ayala sued to get the cases back, hiring a Washington, D.C., attorney for $375,273 to argue that she could use her discretion not to seek the death penalty as an independent prosecutor. The Florida Supreme Court sided with Scott in a 5-2 decision, saying the catch-all policy was an example of a lack of prosecutorial discretion.

After the court decision in late August, Ayala said the death penalty was again an option in Orange and Osceola counties. She put together a panel of seven attorneys from her office, who have been reviewing every homicide case assigned to the office since January and deciding whether it would be appropriate and feasible to seek the death penalty.

Ayala is not on the panel herself. Her chief assistant state attorney, Deborah Barra, announced that the review board unanimously decided to seek the death penalty in a case last week but declined to say which case it was.

Mapp’s case was the first in which the panel unanimously decided to seek the death penalty.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, Gal Tziperman Lotan, October 31, 2017

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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