Aramis Ayala in portland

January 25th, 2018

Venue and details to be announced

This event will raise funds for our Women's Justice Project

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We're bringing progressive prosecutor Aramis Ayala to Portland in January to talk race, gender and justice. She'll be joining us to share her experiences and ideas as a prosecutor. Ayala was elected to the post of State Attorney (equivalent of an Oregon district attorney) for Orange-Osceola, Florida, in 2016.

Meet Aramis Ayala

Prior to becoming a State Attorney, Aramis Ayala had worked as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. Before running for office, she was a Homicide and Major Crimes Assistant State Attorney. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Florida A&M University School of Law and at University of Central Florida in the Legal Studies Department. 

State Attorney Ayala currently serves on the Judicial Administration Committee of the Florida Bar. She has served as Regional Director for the National Bar Association, covering Florida, Georgia and Alabama and was appointed to chair the Pro Bono and Public Service Committee of the National Bar Association.

Death penalty opponent

Aramis Ayala was only elected state attorney for Orange-Osceola a little over a year ago, yet she's already achieved a national profile, and not only because she's the state's first elected black state attorney. Ayala announced that she would not seek the death penalty in any case. Following that decision, Florida Governor Rick Scott reassigned all death penalty-eligible cases to other prosecutors. After an unsuccessful legal fight against the governor's decision, State Attorney Ayala has now created a panel of assistant state attorneys to review first-degree murder cases and decide whether to seek the death penalty. However, Ayala told the Orlando Sentinel in September,

My personal opinion, the facts of the case, none of that changes ... [What] the [Florida] Supreme Court believes and [how] they interpret the law in a way that may be different from how I interpret it, it is absolutely up to me to abide by that regardless of how I interpret the research and the data.
— Aramis Ayala to the "Orlando Sentinel", September 1st, 2017

Stopped by police

Aramis Ayala also had the experience of a video of her being stopped by police earlier this year going viral. Ayala was pulled over by Orlando police. The officers said it was due to her car windows being "really dark" and the license plate of her official car not coming up in their system. State Attorney Ayala concluded the stop was lawful, as did the Orlando Police Department. But the video raised questions in many viewers' minds about racial profiling, as did Ayala herself, saying she wanted to use the incident to open a dialog about the issue.