Criminal Defense Lawyers Association blasts Governor DeSantis for ‘brutal’ suspension of Andrew Warren

Govt. Ron DeSantis suspension and replacement of Hillsborough County State’s Attorney Andre Warren drew condemnation from the Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers Associationwho called the decision “politically motivated” and “illegal”.

In a scathing statement Friday, the Tallahassee-based nonprofit criticized DeSantis for his “brutal attempt to force duly elected prosecutors to do his bidding.”

“Instead of allowing constitutional officers to do their jobs, the governor chose to usurp the will of the voters by executive decision in an alarming expansion of the governor’s power,” the group wrote.

By suspending Warren, DeSantis “exceeds his authority”, president of the FACDL Ernie Chang said in a statement, adding that the governor “should allow elected prosecutors to do their jobs and should respect the will of voters regarding the prosecutors they elect.”

“According to the faulty logic of the governor, each of them should be removed from their positions if there are legitimate cases that they decide not to pursue, which happens daily throughout the state through courts. specialized … to conserve resources and ensure that the most serious cases are prosecuted effectively,” he said.

The group also argued there was an illogical disconnect between the removal of Warren by DeSantis, whom voters twice chose to sue on their behalf in Florida’s 13th Judicial Circuit, and the Supreme Court’s decision. of the United States in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationwhich is “rooted in the legal premise that local voters should decide abortion matters”.

“Political subdivisions are either laboratories for Jeffersonian democracy or they are not,” the group wrote. “Governor. DeSantis seems to want it both ways.

DeSantis Warren suspended Thursday and replaced him with the county judge Suzanne Lopez.

Governor cited Warren’s refusal to enforce Florida’s new law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and any future ban on gender-affirming surgery, decrying Warren’s stance as symptomatic of a national trend disturbing.

“That’s something that I think is a very, very important issue across our country, that this movement would be allowed to take hold, where you’re basically raising your own personal concept of…social justice versus what that the law requires of you,” DeSantis said. “I just think taking a position that you have a veto over the laws of this state is untenable.”

Warren, a progressive prosecutor, promised he would not enforce the abortion ban following the Roe v. Wade overthrow but claimed that no cases related to the ban had yet reached his office.

At a Thursday press conference in which he revealed that his office had identified the “serial killersBehind two 40-year-old cold cases, Warren derided his suspension as a “sideshow” whose effects are likely to be temporary.

The state constitution grants the governor the power to suspend local officials for “misconduct, embezzlement, dereliction of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a crime.”

By itself, however, the suspension is not a permanent removal from office, and Warren can challenge it. In such a case, the Senate would hold a trial on the matter and either reinstate Warren or uphold DeSantis’ suspension and impeach him.

The last Senate trial was in 2019 and ended favorably for DeSantis, whose Broward County sheriff’s suspension Scott Israel after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting became permanent by a vote of 25 to 15.

DeSantis also suspended and replaced the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Suzanne BucherOkaloosa County School Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson and Mayor of Port Richey Dale Massad.

None got their jobs back.

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