UPDATED 1:17M PT – Thursday, August 4, 2022
In a major announcement, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said he’s suspending Democrat State Attorney Andrew Warren. During a press conference Thursday, DeSantis said Warren has continued to ignore the law and his suspension is effective immediately.
DeSantis said crime has spiked under the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County because prosecutor Warren picks and choosea what laws to enforce based on his personal agenda. Warren recently signed a joint letter promising to avoid prosecuting people for providing or seeking abortions. The letter was published in June by the organization Fair and Just Prosecution, which bills itself as bringing together elected local prosecutors to promote “a justice system grounded in fairness, equity, compassion and fiscal responsibility.”
“The role of the state attorney is to apply the law and enforce the law, not pick and choose which laws you like and which laws you don’t like,” DeSantis said. “This is a law and order state. We’re not going to back down from that one inch. We’re not going to allow locally-elected people to veto what our state has decreed through our legislative process. When you’re saying you’re not going to enforce certain laws that you don’t like, that’s neglect of duty that quite frankly is incompetence as defined in Florida law.”
Warren signed the letter along with more than 90 prosecutors from various states, some of which have enacted limitations on abortion similar to the Florida measure. The Florida Legislature passed the 15-week abortion restriction this spring, and DeSantis signed it in April. Providers could face third-degree felony charges for breaking the law.
“Not all of us agree on a personal or moral level on the issue of abortion. But we stand together in our firm belief that prosecutors have a responsibility to refrain from using limited criminal legal system resources to criminalize personal medical decisions,” the June 24 letter said. “As such, we decline to use our offices’ resources to criminalize reproductive health decisions and commit to exercise our well-settled discretion and refrain from prosecuting those who seek, provide, or support abortions.”
Prosecutors have a duty to enforce the law, not pick and choose which laws they agree with.
The State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, Andrew Warren, has instituted nonenforcement policies and has declared that he will refuse to enforce laws he doesn’t like. pic.twitter.com/EbSbCRrLHa
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) August 4, 2022
Taking to Twitter Wednesday night, DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw teased the impact of the announcement and said it would cause the “liberal media meltdown of the year.” Some people immediately began speculating if the announcement concerned the 2024 presidential election. DeSantis consistently tops polls of potential 2024 Republican candidates, usually just behind former President Donald Trump.
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) August 4, 2022
DeSantis has appointed Hillsborough County Judge Susan Lopez to serve in Warren’s place.