You are on page 1of 5

From: Publius ll < xpubliusiix@g mail com >

Date: N4arch 30,2017 at 9:39:57 Pl',.4 EDT

Subjecl An Analysis of Aramis Ayala

Dear Concerned Residents of Orange and Osceola Counties,

Bear with us for a few moments as we lay out the reasons why Aramis Ayala needs to be
suspended and removed from office.

Let's start from the beginning. Ms. Ayala campaigned on bringing about integrity and ethics to the
State Attorney's Office. The very nature of the way she ran her race proved this campaign promise
to be a cloak of hypocrisy. For starters, although t\.4s. Ayala and former Slate Attorney leff Ashton
were the only two people running in the race, Ms. Ayala had one of her campaign donors close the
primary by fling as a write-in candidate so that only registered Democrats could vote. Normally, if
only Ny's. Ayala and l\,.4r. Ashton ran in the Democratic primary, all of the voters in the circuit
(including Republicans, Libertarians, and other independent voters) would have had a say as to who
their state attorney was. But Ms. Ayala was well aware that in an open primary, she would have had
little if any chance to win an election for state attorney with her scant experience Butbycolluding
with her campaign donor, Ms. Ayala purposefully and systematically disenfranchised 60% of the
Ninth Judicial Circuit's eleclorate from deciding who their state attorney would be. (The sheer irony
of a candidate preachinq integrity and ethics purposefully disenfranchising a majority of the voters
in the circuit can be lost on no one.) To add insult to injury, Ny's. Ayala then professed ignorance to
this act of subterfuge when asked about it by the press, and actually wrote a letter asking that her
campaign donor withdraw from the race. Of course he did not do so, because it was, to quote the
.loker, "all a part of the plan." And indeed, to her credit this plan was well thought out, as is evident
by the piece lVs. Ayala had written for Democracy for America, which outlined the racial statistics
regarding voter turnout among registered Democrats. She knew exactly what she was doing, and
her supporters knew of this game plan of hers, as they openly boasted about it on social media.

Once Ms. Ayala had successfully closed the primary and disenfranchised 60% of the Ninth ludicial
Circuit's voters, she then teamed up with shadowy interest groups and conducted what can only be
characterized as one of the most unethical and shameful campaigns ever waged. Ms. Ayala
accused fellow Democrat .leff Ashton and his prosecutors of treating black and white defendants
differently solely because of their race. These incendiary accusa'tions were made both on television
and in mailers sent to voters. Naturally, the accusations of racism enraged many people, and
according to the Orlando Sentinel, approximately 8070 of nonwhite voters who voted in the August
primary voted for Ms. Ayala. As a result of her closing the primary, and enflaming public opinion
with her outrageously false accusations, coupled with the hefty contribution of outside benefactors,
Ms. Ayala 'won" the election. After she won the election, voters should have realized lhat
something was amiss: either 1) Ms. Ayala told the truth about the prosecutors at the 5AO being
racist, but doesn't mind since she reportedly has kept the vast majority of these same prosecutors
on her staff (she fired only a dozen or so prosecutors prlor to taking office in an office of 140+
assistant state attorneys), or 2) she lied about the racism allegations in order to get people to vote
for her, knowing full well that the State Attorney's Office (which included a substantial number of
black and other minority attorneys) did not prosecute anyone differently based on race. Since Ms.
Ayala herself worked at the SAO for about tlvo years, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know
which kernel of truth is accurate, as she presumably would not have continued working there had
there been roving racists hiding their hooded robes behind their office doors. lf this is the integrity
and ethics that she promised to deliver in her campaign, then who knows what a lack of such
would entail.

Turning lo recent events, Ms. Ayala's supponers contend that her position on the death penalty
was unknown prior to the August primary because she was never explicitly asked. However, Ms.
Ayala herself has prolessed in a document filed by her attorney that she "had been willing to seek a
sentence of death in an appropriate situation," and that "she held that view throughout her
campaign for State Attorney." Her filing indicates that after indicting Markeith Loyd on February 15,
2017, she'personally immersed herself in the facts and law relevant to the Loyd cases and
concluded that if she successfully convicted him, she would seek a sentence of life without the
possibility of parole." This assertion is interesting, for at her press conference on )anuaty 20,2017,
lVs. Ayala was asked the following question by a reporter: "Are you philosophically opposed to the
death penalty?" Ms. Ayala, who was clearly caught off guard by the question, repeated it, and then,
in a classic non-response response, stated that the question "was encroachrng upon an open
investigation." (Unfortunately, at this most strangest of answers - asking someone their stance on
the death penalty does nol encroach on any investigation - the reporter's spider sense failed to
tingle.) N,1s. Ayala then stated that "the death penalty is a legitimate sanction in Florida. I follow the
law, and at this point we do not have a procedure by which the Supreme Court oI Florida has
found it constitutional." ("1 follow the law" was apparently a lapse in the synapse.)

At her next press conference on February'15, 2017, N,1s. Ayala first intimated that she was "eagerly
anticipating" the Legislature's fix of the statute which the Florida Supreme Court had found to be
unconstitutional a few months before. Her claim that she was'eagerly anticipating'a new statute
was unlrue, as she announced her intention not to seek the death penalty in any case literally four
days after the Legislature passed the statute which she claimed she was so eagerly anticipating.
Stephen Hawking need not be called as an expert witness to point out the glaringly obvioust Ms.
Ayala was hopinq that the Florida Supreme Court would declare the entire death penalty scheme in
Florida to be unconstitutional so that she could use the courts as an excuse as to why she could not
seek death on f,,4arkeith Loyd. The proof is in the legal pudding: although she pretended to know
what it said, it appears that N.4s. Ayala did not even read the Hurst opinion, for at this same
February 15th press conference she cited to 'United States v. Hurst" as the case by which the United
States Supreme Court had struck down Florida's death penalty. As noted by many local attorneys,
this case does not exist; the actual citation of the case is Hurst v. Florida. (To quote the great sage
Homer Simpson: "Doh!")

ln fighting the governor to keep Loyd's case, Ms. Ayala asked Judge Lauten last week to stay the
proceedings, and indicated to thejudge that she was 'researching'the issue. Fortunately, State
Attorney Brad King had already researched the issue prior to coming to court, and produced a case
that was decided in 1975 - more than 40 years ago. This week, Ny's. Ayala appeared in court with an
attorney from Washington D.C. (lt is unknown at this time whether her most generous of
benefactors is paying for this attorney, or it state funds are being utilized to pay for his services.)
She still insists on fighting the governor's order, but says with a straight face that she doesn't want
to adversely affect the prosecution of Loyd. (We'll give her the special category of catch-23 for that
one.) While the Loyd case was in the hands of career prosecutors at the SAO (ASAS Deborah Earra
and Ryan Williams, who by all accounts are excellent prosecutors) prior to the governor reassigning
it, the citizens of this circuit must ask why such a high-profile case does not merit lvs. Ayala - who,
if we remember, claimed that she "personally immersed herself in the facts and law relevant to the
Loyd cases" - prosecuting the case herself. (t\4aybe it lies in the fact that N,4s. Ayala only had two
years of prosecutorial experience prior to becoming state attorney. Or it could jusl be that the
answer lies in the Hurst opinion. United States v. Hurst, that is.)

N.4s. Ayala's abrupt reasons for refusing to seek the death penalty in any casejust don't pan out. ln

her fling referenced earlier, she first claims that the death penalty has no impact on public safety.
This is irrelevant, as the Legislature has specifically indicated in Florida Statute 921.0020Xb) that
"the primary purpose of sentencing is to punish the offender. Rehabilitation is a desired goal of the
criminaljustice system but is subordinate to the goal of punishment." (We may also note that a
convicted murderer who was executed has never come back to claim another victim, so while it
may or may not be a deterrent to criminals committing first-degree murder, the implementation of
the death penalty surely is a deterrent to a murderer committing another violent offense.) Second,
she argues that the death penalty is racially discriminatory and also discriminatory against the poor.
A head scratcher this one is, for one would hope that ol all the state attorneys in Florida, she would
be the most cautious in being the least discriminatory in the application of the death penalty. N,4s.
Ayala cites to a 1972 Supreme Court opinion which incorporates statistics pre-dating the civil rights
era some 60-70 years ago, and faals to note that both victims in Loyd's cases are black females. As
to the finances of Loyd, they were never mentioned in any story pertaining to this case, which
would lead to the conclusion that the only one who knows what they are would be him, which
would make them totally irrelevant. Ihird, N.4s. Ayala states that prosecuting the death penalty costs
"an enormous amount' to litigate. lf the Legislature is adequately funding death penalty
prosecutions (and she has never stated that it is not), the cost of said prosecutions is irrelevant, as
the Legislature, an representing the citizens of the Florida, decides what gets funded and what does
not. (lf Ms. Ayala has concerns with the cost of death penalty prosecutions it would have been
more appropriate for her to run for the state legislature instead of for state attorney.) t\4s. Ayala's
next argument was that the death penalty left victims in a state of uncertainty. Abandoning the
death penalty because victims do not know when the execution will commence is a bizarre
proposition as to why the death penalty should not be imposed to begin with. Taking this position
to its conclusion, would Ms. Ayala next arque that there is no point in charging someone with a
crime in the first place, since victims cannot be guaranteed that a jury will actually convict someone
of said crime, which would leave them in a state ol uncertainty as to their safety? This argument
also makes no sense, because the only "uncertainty' regarding the death penalty lies in lhe length
of time it takes to carry out the execution. Finally, Ms. Ayala makes the argument that people have
been exonerated who were on death row. According to press accounts, however, OPD Chief Mina
has indicated that there exisls a surveillance video depicting Loyd walking up lo Sgt. Cla)'ton and
executing her. So the possibility of the wrong person being convicted in this case is as plausible as
unicorns descending from the sky to search for magical carrots. (And irrelevant. See a pattern?)
Finally, t,4s. Ayala just yesterday claimed that the recent proposal in the Legislature to cut the SAO
budget would 'severely impact [the State Attorney's Office] to effectively prosecute crimes,
threaten public safety and ultimately have an economic impact on the central tlorida community."
This, yet again, is untrue. Besides the fact that cutting the budget would take it back to where it was
atjust last year, Ms. Ayala fails to mention the salaries that she paid her friends that she brought to
the SAO. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the salaries of some of the personnel in the State
Attorney's Offlce hired by Ms. Ayala:

Kamilah Perry - $130,000

Harold Bennett - $105,000
losephine Coion - $105,000
.lames Laster - $86,000
Eryka Washington - $80,000

As any pocket calculator can tell you, the total salaries of the above individuals hired by Ms. Ayala is
a little more than half a million dollars. "What is the common thread between them all?' you may
be asking yourself. The answer is that none of these salaried employees actually prosecute any
cases, or are even assigned a caseload. ln fact, Mr. Bennett and Ny's. Colon in particular are paid
their exorbitant salaries to do absolutely zero legal work. Theirjob, as articulated by Ms. Colon in
an email sent office-wide on February 22, 2017 at'1119 am (see below), is to handle "community
outreach" for Ms. Ayala. ln other words, they are campaign surrogates of Ms. Ayala's, paid for by
the taxpayers of Florida under the titular title of "deputy chief assistant state attorney." ($105,000 a
year to socialize and network? l\,lark Zuckerberg would be so proud.) Ms. Perry also is reportedly
handling no cases at the State Aftorney's Offlce. (lt should be noted that recently retired Florida
Supreme Court Justice.,ames Perry was interviewed by the local media in reference to the
governor's controversial decision reassigning the Loyd case. While the views of a formerjustice of
the Florida Supreme Court would be influential to public opinion in order to assess the legality of
the governor's executive order, the public should be aware that Justice Perry, \/ho blasted the
governor's decision in interviews, is lhe Iather of the aforementioned Kamilah Perry, who is a
member of the Ayala administration.) ln short, the bleak picture painted by Ms. Ayala of the SAO
budget being "cut" is fear-mongering, as the money the SAO currently receives is not being spent
in judicious fashion to begin with.

The voters of the Ninth .,udicial Circuit, and particularly Ms. Ayala's supporters who are accusing her
critics of racial bias (which is odd, as many of her critics are members of minority groups who do
not agree with her lawless decisions), would do well to talk to any of the assistant state attorneys
who are actually out in the trenches prosecuting cases. Morale is at an all-time low, and
prosecutors are exiting out the door as fast as they can. (ln fact, go into any county court
courtroom and it is apparent that the young prosecutors there are drowning in cases due to the
high turnover, as some courtrooms only have one prosecutor to handle hundreds of cases. Thieves
and drunk drivers, however, are ecstatic that their prosecutions are being severely hampered.
Christmas came early for them this year.) Since Ms. Ayala took office a little over two monlhs ago
there have been more than a dozen prosecutors who have resigned; in just the month of March it
is reported that more than half a dozen ASA5 have quit. This hurts the community, because it takes
years for prosecutors to become experienced enough to try some ol the complex cases that arise
in court.

It's interesting to note that N,'ls. Ayala's husband reportedly quit his job the day after she won the
primary in August. He then joined a group called the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition in January
of 2017. A month later, in February of 2017, a group reportedly linked to George Soros called the
Open Philanthropy Project gave a "9rant" of $130,000 to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition
restoration-coalition-general-supoort-2017); said grant was a "discretionary grant" which did not
require the normal approval process, and is a "relatively small proportion" of the grants given out.
A month later, in March of 2017, Ms. Ayala suddenly announced her intention not to seek the death
penalty. Ever. On any case. (Vladirnir Putin, take notes.)
Ny's. Ayala says it is unprecedented for the governor to remove her from the Loyd case. But it is also

unprecedented for a state attorney to fulfill the wishes oI those donors who backed her, instead of
applying the laws she swore to uphold. lt's time to move on. The governor can help us do that by
suspending Ms. Ayala and requesting that the Senate remove her lrom office before she does any
more damage to this circuit and the safety of ils citizens.

Publius ll

From: Colon, losephine

Sent: Wednesday, February 22,2017 1119 Al\.4
To: SA ASA ALL .5AASAA!!@iee9erg>
Subject: Community Outreach

Hi Everyone,

As you know Harold Bennett and lare focused on community outreach for the 9th Circuit. Some of
our goals are to establish better communication and partnership with the various law enforcement
agencies as well as community leaders and organizations within Orange and Osceola counties.
And, eventually, we will be creating a "community prosecution unit".

So, knowing that we may not be able to reach out to Every organization, we would like to learn
about the various office-related community projects or volunteer efforts many of you might be
involved in. Please email Harold (Orange) or me (Osceola) and let us know about your
involvements so we can expand on our efforts and make the gth Circuil SAO one of the best in the
statel Additionally, if any of you would like to participate in community outreach projects, definitely
let us know.


Josephine Col6n
Deputy Chief Assistant State Attorney
Office of the State Attorney, Ninth Judicial Circuit
2 Courthouse Square, Suite 3500
Kissimmee, Florida 34741
Please note: Florida has a very broad public records law. All e-mails are kept as a public record.
Your e-mail communications, including your e-mail address, may be disclosed to the public and
media at any time.