State Attorney Ayala says she knew death penalty deadline could be missed

Defiant state attorney blames governor for late filing

By Mike Holfeld - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala told a handful of reporters Monday afternoon that the missed filing deadline in the death penalty case of accused murderer Emerita Mapp was no mistake.

“Of course I knew the potential of some of those cases passing the 45 days," Ayala said. "This is something the review panel discussed prior to reviewing cases.”

Mapp was arraigned Aug. 23, yet the filing by the state attorney’s office missed the 45-day deadline by several weeks.

According to Florida Statute. 775.082:

“If the prosecutor intends to seek the death penalty, the prosecutor must give notice to the defendant and file the notice with the court within 45 days after arraignment. The notice must contain a list of the aggravating factors the state intends to prove and has reason to believe it can prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Ayala said she already had researched and found precedent-setting cases that will be included in a motion that will be filed in several weeks .

News 6 found that the statute does allow for “the prosecutor to amend the notice upon a showing of good cause”  but there is no mention of an exception for a missed deadline.

When asked why she didn’t file for an extension Ayala said, “ An extension for what?... The governor missed it. If you look at the timeline, it was the governor who said he was reviewing it, there was no obligation to review any.”

State Rep. Bob Cortes, of District 30, told News 6 on Monday that Ayala “bungled her trial by fire."

Cortes thinks the embattled state attorney should step down.

Scott's office released a statement about Ayala's comments Monday evening.

"It is outrageous State Attorney Ayala is attempting to pass the blame for her failure. Let’s be clear – State Attorney Ayala failed to meet this deadline and she alone is responsible for not fighting for justice for the victims in this case.

The Supreme Court ruled in Governor Scott’s favor on August 31, 2017 giving State Attorney Ayala more than a month to file the appropriate notice by the October 7, 2017 deadline.

What possible excuse could there be for failing to do her job and missing a basic deadline on a case she is responsible for handling?,” deputy director of communications McKinley Lewis said.

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