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News Scan

Florida Prosecutor Refuses to Seek Death Penalty:  Florida's Governor has reassigned a case involving the recent murder of a police officer after a State Attorney refused to seek the death penalty.  Fox News reports that the prosecution of Markeith Loyd, for the January 9 murders of Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton and his pregnant girlfriend Dade Dixon, was reassigned today after State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced that she would not seek a death sentence for Loyd.  In a statement Thursday Ayala said that the death penalty has led to "chaos, uncertainty and turmoil,"  and was not "in the best interest of the community or the best interest of justice."  Governor Scott differed, "These families (of the victims) deserve a state attorney who will aggressively prosecute Markeith Loyd to the fullest extent of the law and justice must be served." 

AZ High Court Upholds Death Penalty:  In a decision announced Wednesday, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously rejected a broad challenge to the state's death penalty law.  The Arizona Capitol Times reports that the challenge was included in the direct appeal of gang member Abel Daniel Hidalgo, who was sentenced to death for the 2001 contract killing of auto-body-shop owner Michael Cordova and the murder of upholsterer Jose Rojas because he happened to be there when Cordova was killed.  Hidalgo had also received two life sentences in federal prison for the 2002 drug-related murders of two women in Idaho.  In his appeal of his Arizona death sentence Hidalgo claimed that state law did not sufficiently narrow eligibility for a death sentence.    

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