DeSantis suspends Florida Attorney for saying he would not enforce restrictions on abortion and sex therapy


MIAMI — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday suspended Tampa’s chief district attorney after the Democrat publicly said he would not push through a new state abortion restriction or a potential law banning surgeries on transgender children.

Flanked by state and regional law enforcement officials who are also Republicans, DeSantis said at his press conference that Hillsborough County Attorney Andrew Warren is neglecting his official duties and essentially usurping a governor’s veto power by signaling his refusal to approve those prosecute those who break laws he doesn’t agree with.

“If you openly violate your oath of office by placing yourself above the law, you have failed in your duty,” DeSantis said. “You have neglected your duty and you show a lack of competence to perform those duties.”

Warren who became a face of progressive criminal law reform After first winning office in 2016 and considering running for Florida Attorney General in 2022, he accused DeSantis of political stance and suggested the governor was overwhelmed by his re-election campaign and potential White House bid in 2024 motivated.

“Today’s political stunt is an illegal hyperbole that perpetuates a dangerous pattern by Ron DeSantis of using his office to further his own political ambitions,” Warren said in a written statement, accusing DeSantis of overriding the will of voters who elected him prosecutor. “The people have the right to choose their own leaders – not to be dictated to by an up-and-coming presidential candidate who has shown time and time again that he is unaccountable to anyone.”

A Warren aide who was not authorized to speak publicly on his behalf said Warren was from the DeSantis announcement and from local law enforcement officials who criticized him for being soft on crime while speaking alongside the governor at the Tampa press conference stood, been blind.

According to the adviser and another knowledgeable source, who described him as “angry and loud,” Warren was removed from his office by MPs.

Warren’s team says he justifies opposition to Florida’s new abortion law, which DeSantis signed into law, because it violates the law: a federal privacy rule the state Supreme Court previously ruled to protect abortion rights. The new law will be challenged in court.

The high-profile political dynamic was cabled a day earlier by DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw, who had hyped the upcoming announcement on social media. The governor’s office also issued a statement to conservative media calling Warren a “Soros-backed” prosecutor, a reference to progressive financier George Soros, whom Warren may have targeted in 2020 in his first successful campaign four years ago had supported.

Warren was elected in Hillsborough County in 2020 with more than 53% of the vote or 370,000 ballots. Hillsborough, a Democratic stronghold, has a Republican sheriff, Chad Chronister, who joined other colleagues in destroying Warren at the DeSantis press conference.

The suspension is another continuation of DeSantis’ muscular wielding of power, which Democrats and other critics routinely label as dictatorial. More popular with Florida Republicans than former President Donald Trump, DeSantis has met little opposition from the GOP-led legislature, although his office has relative influence bad court papers in defense of laws he signed.

The Florida Constitution gives a governor the power to suspend state officials for “misconduct, abuse of office, dereliction of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, chronic inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony.”

DeSantis’ order, but did not cite specific instances of Warren refusing to do his job. Instead, DeSantis ordered, Warren’s “blanket refusal” to enforce Florida’s new abortion restrictions or prospective restrictions on transgender surgery or toilet use violates the state constitution.

Under state law, the Florida Senate can decide whether to impeach Warren for the remainder of his term. The chamber is controlled by the same Republicans who passed the abortion law that Warren opposes.

DeSantis cited two letters Warren signed along with other prosecutors from around the country: A June 24, 2022 Joint statement in support of abortion rights and a June 2021 Letter condemning the effort in a number of states to restrict access to gender-affirming healthcare for transgender people.

Before the US Supreme Court overturned federal protections for abortion rights, DeSantis signed into law the new law that limits abortions in Florida to 15 weeks, regardless of whether the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The law is challenged in court. The DeSantis government is in the process of taking executive action to ban transitional therapies for minors and Medicaid recipients. State legislatures are expected to take up the issue during the next legislative session this spring.

Another Florida prosecutor, Orlando-area prosecutor Monique H. Worrell, co-signed the letter supporting access to gender-affirming care with Warren, but she did not sign the joint abortion statement. A DeSantis spokeswoman said Worrell will not be suspended for the time being because the proposed restrictions on surgeries for transgender children are not yet a state law issue that she would be breaking.

Shortly after taking office in 2019, DeSantis issued his first suspension, temporarily removing Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from office because his office had handled the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, in which the 17th… People died and 17 were injured. Israel was subsequently impeached by the Florida Senate.

DeSantis’ predecessor as governor, current Sen. Rick Scott, had refused to suspend Israel. Scott also had a different reaction to the direction of another Orlando-area prosecutor, Aramis Ayala, when she refused to pursue death penalty cases, including one against an accused cop-killer: Scott simply reassigned those cases to other prosecutors, rather than suspending them . Ayala is now running for Attorney General.

DeSantis faces re-election this year. Polls show he leads his top potential Democratic challengers, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, and Rep. Charlie Crist, who face each other in an August 23 primary.

Both Crist and Fried made abortion rights a top issue in the primary and made statements suggesting Warren’s fate is now a campaign issue as well.

“He’s doing it because he wants to be a dictator, not a Florida governor. But that’s not how it works. It’s going to backfire,” Fried said in a statement, referring to Tuesday’s vote in Kansas to protect abortion rights. “We just saw it in Kansas. Florida is a pro-choice, pro-democracy state. If this continues, the people of Florida will put an end to this in November.”

CORRECTION (Aug. 4, 2022 2:32 pm ET): An earlier version of this article was misrepresented when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state’s abortion law into law. It was before the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Picking up Wade, not after. DeSantis suspends Florida Attorney for saying he would not enforce restrictions on abortion and sex therapy

Fry Electronics Team

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