Florida Prosecutor Who Refused to Enforce Laws Sues DeSantis Over Suspension
A Florida prosecutor, who refused to uphold state law, is suing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over his suspension from office.
State Attorney Andrew Warren filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court Wednesday against DeSantis’ alleged “blatant abuse of power” after the governor issued an executive order suspending Warren in August over his alleged “neglect of duty” after he refused to uphold Florida’s laws on gender reassignment surgeries for minors, as well as abortion laws in Florida.
He accused the governor of attacking “our democracy” to overturn the “fair election” which placed Warren in office.
“Ron DeSantis is hoping to get away with overturning a fair election, throwing out the votes of hundreds of thousands of Floridians,” he said. “By challenging this illegal abuse of power, we can make sure that no governor can toss out the results of an election because he doesn’t like the outcome.”
“The governor has attacked our democracy and it should worry everyone,” Warren continued. “If the governor’s attempt to unilaterally overturn an election is allowed to stand, it threatens to undermine the integrity and outcome of elections across our state for years to come.”
Warren’s attorney, Jean-Jacques Cabou, alleged that the suspension was a violation of his client’s First Amendment rights to express his stances on abortion and transgender issues, alleging that the governor did not identify criminal conduct that would justify a suspension, but reacted instead to Warren’s political opinions.
“Of course, DeSantis is free to express his views and his disagreements with Warren as often as he likes. Indeed, the Federal Constitution ensures that he is,” the suit says. “DeSantis went too far.”
However, the suit fails to mention that Warren was suspended for his refusal to uphold the state law of Florida. The State Attorney signed a declaration in June to rally support for permitting minors to undergo sex change operations and gender-transition treatment and use a bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. He also vowed not to enforce the state’s abortion law, which DeSantis signed in April, banning abortion after 15 weeks except in cases endangering the mother’s life.
“This 15-week ban is an unconstitutional law. The Legislature is hoping courts ignore the Florida constitution. But I’m upholding the law and protecting the fundamental rights of all Floridians,” Warren said at the time.
The executive order states that “Warren’s avowed refusal to enforce certain criminal laws in a non-individualized, category-wide basis of his choosing is a neglect of duty in violation of his oath of office to faithfully perform his duties as State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit.”
“It is my duty as Governor to take care that the laws are faithfully executed by ensuring that all criminal violations remain eligible for prosecution across the State of Florida,” DeSantis writes in the order. “As a result of his open and notorious repudiation and nullification of Florida law, as well as his blatant defiance of Florida Legislature, Warren can no longer be trusted to fulfill his oath of office and his duty to see that Florida law is faithfully executed.”
The order continues, “It is in the best interests of the residents of the 13th judicial circuit that they immediately have a new state attorney who will faithfully execute Florida’s criminal laws and exercise prosecutorial discretion to do justice on a case-by-case, fact-specific basis in accordance with Florida law.”