Orange-Osecola state attorney Aramis Ayala won't seek re-election, cites opposition to death penalty


  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
In a video posted to her office's Facebook page Tuesday morning, Aramis Ayala announced she will not seek re-election as state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties next year.

Ayala, who became Florida's first African American state attorney when elected in 2016, is the chief prosecutor for Florida's Ninth Judicial Circuit.

In the three-minute video, she cited her opposition to Florida's death penalty and an August 2017 state Supreme Court decision that found that the state's elected prosecutors can't impose anti-death penalty policies.

"After the Florida Supreme Court's decision on the death penalty, it became abundantly clear to me that death penalty law in the state of Florida is in direct conflict with my view and my vision for the administration of justice," Ayala said. "Now as state attorney, those views will not impact the administration of law, and I will continue to follow the law. But I also realize it is time for me to move forward and continue to the pursuit of justice in a different capacity."

It remains unclear what Ayala's next career move may be. Her office has declined to speak further other than the video.

Had Ayala opted to run for re-election in 2020, she would have faced assistant state attorney Ryan Williams, a fellow Democrat, of Winter Garden. When Ayala announced her office's ban on death penalty prosecutions in March 2017, Williams, who served under the previous state attorney, transferred to Florida's Fifth Judicial Circuit in opposition.

Ayala also noted her efforts during her tenure as state attorney to expand diversity in her office and reform prosecutorial policies.

"I do look forward to continuing to serve as state attorney. There's still a lot of time. And there's a lot of work that still needs to be done," Ayala said. "Which is why in the upcoming weeks and months I will continue to unveil new policies, new initiatives and new programs that will serve the community of Orange and Osceola County. And I do expect all of those initiatives to last in the years to come."

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