Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has immediately suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren on Thursday for “neglect of duty” due to willful disregard of lawful directives pertaining to abortion and transgender surgery.
“We don’t elect people in one part of the state to have veto power over what the entire state decides on these important issues,” Governor DeSantis explained. “The constitution of Florida has vested the veto power and the governor, not an individual state attorneys.”
“And so when you flagrantly violate your oath of office, when you make yourself above the law, you have violated your duty,” he went on. “You have neglected your duty and you are displaying a lack of competence to be able to reform those duties. And so today we are suspending state attorney Andrew Warren effective immediately.”
On Thursday, DeSantis announced that he would be suspending Warren, whose jurisdiction is in the city of Tampa, and would seek his dismissal from the law enforcement post.
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“We are not going to allow the pathogen that’s been around the country of ignoring the law, we are not going to allow that to get a foothold here in the state of Florida,” the governor said. “We are going to make sure our laws are enforced and no individual prosecutor puts himself above the law.”
DeSantis said that Susan Lopez will step in as the new state attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit in the interim period.
The New York Post reported that Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister praised DeSantis for taking action because of Warren’s alleged record of abusing prosecutorial discretion.
Chronister said that Warren’s office had declined to charge an alleged gang member who shot one person and then fired into a home filled with women and children.
The sheriff told the Post that the victim now lives in a motel because she fears going back to her home with an attempted murderer on the streets, “as though her status as a victim doesn’t matter and the state attorney simply does not care.”
The sheriff accused the suspended D.A. of acting like the “supreme authority” by “reducing charges, dropping cases and singlehandedly determining what crimes will be legal or illegal in our county.”
“Our government is a government of laws, not a government of men,” the governor said. “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.”
Governor DeSantis is setting a new gold standard for executive action. When it comes to rooting out corrupt and incompetent officials who put their personal opinions above the law, let the suspensions and firings begin.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.