Florida Judge Upholds DeSantis Administration’s Suspension of Woke Prosecutor

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference to announce the award of $100 milli
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Florida judge is upholding the DeSantis administration’s decision to suspend a woke state prosecutor whom the governor said had neglected his duty.

DeSantis announced the suspension of State Attorney Andrew Warren following a growing emergence of woke prosecutors across the country, whom the governor said are effectively nullifying laws with selective enforcement, worsening the crime issue across the country. After a requested examination of this trend in the Sunshine State, the administration zeroed in on the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, which had State Attorney Andrew Warren at the helm.

During the announcement in August, DeSantis provided examples of Warren’s failure to enforce the law, “from refusing to enforce any prohibitions on sex change operations for minors, regardless of action from the legislature, to asserting that he would not enforce any laws relating to protecting the right to life in the Sunshine State,” as Breitbart News reported at the time.

The Associated Press

Suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren leaves a news conference, Wednesday, August 17, 2022, in Tallahassee, Florida. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

“The constitution of Florida has vested the veto power in the governor, not in 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,” the governor said, explaining that Warren cannot put himself above the legislature’s actions and refuse to enforce laws he does not personally find suitable.

“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,” DeSantis said.

“You have neglected your duty and you are displaying a lack of competence to be able to perform those duties and so today, we are suspending State Attorney Andrew Warren,” he formally announced.

Predictably, Warren objected the suspension and initially claimed DeSantis lacked the constitutional authority to suspend him, deeming it a “blatant overreach by the governor.”

However, federal judge dismissed the case, concluding that it is, indeed, a state issue and not in his particular jurisdiction.

Judge Robert Hinkle said DeSantis “violated the First Amendment by considering Mr. Warren’s speech on matters of public concern—the four FJP policies save one sentence—as motivating factors in the decision to suspend him” and “violated the First Amendment by considering Mr. Warren’s association with the Democratic Party and alleged association with Mr. Soros as motivating factors in the decision.”

“But the Governor would have made the same decision anyway, even without considering these things,” he continued, concluding that the First Amendment violations “were not essential to the outcome and so do not entitle Mr. Warren to relief in this action.”

“The suspension also violated the Florida Constitution, and that violation did affect the outcome. But the Eleventh Amendment prohibits a federal court from awarding declaratory or injunctive relief of the kind at issue against a state official based only on a violation of state law,” he concluded:

For these reasons, IT IS ORDERED:
The clerk must enter judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58 stating, “The plaintiff Andrew H. Warren’s claims against the defendant Ron DeSantis arising under state law are dismissed without prejudice based on the Eleventh Amendment. Mr. Warren’s claims against Mr. DeSantis arising under federal law are dismissed on the merits with prejudice.” The clerk must close the file.

“Today the court upheld the governor’s decision to suspend Andrew Warren from office for neglect of duty and incompetence,” DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske announced in a statement following the decision.

The case is Warren v. DeSantis, No. 4:22cv302-RH-MAF in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.


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