Saturday, April 01, 2017

16.9 - Hero Award: Aramis Ayala

Hero Award: Aramis Ayala

Next up, another of our occasional features. It's the Hero Award, something we give out as the occasion arises to someone who just does the right thing on a matter big or small.

Earlier in the show I said I regarded any obstruction thrown in the way of the death penalty to be good news. So this certainly counts.

Our Hero is Aramis Ayala, the State Attorney for Orange-Osceola counties in Florida. On March 16 she announced that her office will no longer seek the death penalty as a sentence in any case in which it is involved.

Ayala, the first African-American in Florida history to be elected a prosecutor, said the death penalty provides no safety benefits to the public or law enforcement, is not a deterrent, winds up costing more than life in prison, and gives victims' families false hope for closure, among other reasons.

Bear in mind that Florida is home to death-loving "Stand Your Ground" laws and has as a governor Rick Scott, the secret identity of Voldemort. Florida loves death almost as much as Texas does.
Aramis Ayala

So it should not be a surprise that reaction from Florida officialdom was swift and hostile. Gov. Voldemort pulled her off the case and the judge in the case was so eager to get the possible killing started that he would not even delay case until Ayala could get a ruling on her claim that Voldemort had no lawful authority to remove her.

What's more, the GOPpers who dominate the state legislature propose to cut her budget by $1.3-1.4 million and eliminate 21 staff positions for daring to exercise her prosecutorial authority in a less bloodthirsty way than they want.

How this will play out from here remains to be seen. What is clear is that Aramis Ayala has chosen the correct side of justice and history and pointed up, even if unintentionally, how the death penalty is not about justice but bloody vengeance. And for that, she is a Hero.

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