Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended the elected state prosecutor of Tampa on Thursday for pledging not to enforce the state’sand support for gender-affirming treatment of minors.
The Republican governor announced the suspension of Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren at a news conference at the county sheriff’s office, where DeSantis and law enforcement officials criticized Warren for not prosecuting certain crimes .
“When you blatantly violate your inaugural oath, when you put yourself above the law, you violate your duties, you neglect your duties, and you demonstrate a lack of ability to perform those duties,” Dessan said. Teas said with cheers.
Democrat Warren was elected state attorney by Hillsborough County voters in 2016 and 2020. His office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The suspension comes as DeSantis is running for re-election in Florida and has built his national profile as a potential 2024 Republican presidential nominee by almost constantly criticizing liberal policies on abortion, policing and other culture war issues.
Asked if he overwhelmed voters by suspending the choice of prosecutors, DeSantis said Warren’s conduct had been “below Florida’s constitutional standards” and that he had ignored his responsibility to state law.
“I don’t think the people of Hillsboro County want to have an agenda that’s basically woken up, and you decide what you think about social justice means that certain laws shouldn’t be enforced,” the governor said.
Rep. Fentrice Driskell, a Tampa Democrat and leader-designate of the Florida House Democratic Caucus, said Warren has been using his prosecutorial discretion appropriately.
“I won’t be blunt: This is a shocking political attack on elected officials who serve the people of Hillsborough County,” she said. “Andrew Warren was removed from office for reassuring our community that he would not be an infantryman in Ron DeSantis’ extremist agenda.”
in a executive order Officially suspending Warren, DeSantis mainly focuses on Warren’s contract of statement Prosecutors from across the country have said they will not use their offices to bring criminal charges against seekers or providers of abortion or gender-affirming treatment.
Florida has not yet enacted a law criminalizing gender-affirming treatment of minors, but “these statements demonstrate that Warren believes he has the right to disregard the Florida legislature and repeal criminal laws within its jurisdiction to which he disagrees,” The executive order reads.
The state’s new abortion restrictions go into effect on July 1. It prohibits abortion after 15 weeks, except for procedures necessary to save the mother’s life, prevent serious harm, or have a fatal abnormality in the fetus. It does not allow exemptions if the pregnancy was caused by rape, incest or human trafficking.
Violators could face up to five years in prison. Doctors and other medical professionals can lose their licenses and face administrative fines of $10,000 per violation.
The executive order also accuses Warren of having “a false and lawless understanding of his duties as the state’s attorney” because he has “presumed convictions for certain criminal offenses, including trespassing, disorderly conduct, intoxication, and prostitution. not be implemented”. “
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Cronister said, “The governor’s suspension of the Warren State Attorney is not political to me. It’s about law and order. It’s about making sure we The safety of loved ones. It’s about the victims and their voices.” He said Warren has been acting as a “supreme authority by reducing charges, dropping cases and single-handedly determining which crimes are legal in our county. or illegal”.
DeSantis appointed Hillsborough County Judge Susan Lopez to serve in Warren’s place during his suspension.
“I have great respect for our state laws and I understand the important role state attorneys play in keeping our communities safe and law enforcement,” Lopez said.