In the Markieth Lloyd case, the Orange County State Attorney Aramis Ayala declined to seek the death penalty and her office was removed from prosecuting this case by the governor. This decision caused distress in the law enforcement community and among those who support the death penalty in capital cases. This is the politics of the death penalty.

Remember that the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty statute was unconstitutional and the legislature quickly moved to remedy any defects and it was passed through the Florida legislature. However, there can be huge financial and emotional costs to deciding to seek the death penalty. There has to be a unanimous jury verdict which can cause mistrials and pain for the victim’s family.

Death row inmates can linger for many years while they exhaust their numerous appeals. This can even go to the level of the United States Supreme Court. This can cause additional pain for the family of the victims as well. When you combine this with the arguments that the drugs being used for lethal injection have been ruled many times to not be effective, there is a problem. Many cases have been documented where death row inmates have sustained a great deal of terror and pain during their executions. Some states have even considered going back to drastic measures like a firing squad and the electric chair. Fyodor Dstoevsky writes “You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners.”

While we all believe that Markieth Lloyd committed heinous crimes against individuals and law enforcement officials, it is well within the discretion of the prosecutor to decide not to seek the death penalty on all cases. This was not done based on the circumstances of the case.

The recent decision by the Ocala based State Attorney Brad King to seek the death penalty against Lloyd adds another layer of intrigue. Additionally, the State Attorney that was replaced has filed a lawsuit to be reinstated and has her case being heard by the Florida Supreme Court. Their decision could impact that outcome of many cases as they move to sentencing phases.

Here is a link to the story about Markieth Lloyd and State Attorney Brad King.