Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced he’s suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County effective immediately because of his “neglect of duty.”
According to a newly issued executive order, DeSantis said Warren has refused of prosecute “abortion crimes” related to several state laws which protect “the lives of unborn children.”
“When you flagrantly violate your oath of office, when you make yourself above the law, you have violated your duty, you have neglected your duty, and you are displaying a lack of competence to be able to perform those duties,” DeSantis said Thursday during a news conference at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
WATCH: Gov. Ron DeSantis suspends Hillsborough County state attorney
Gov. DeSantis suspends Hillsborough County state attorney for ‘neglect of duty’
The governor accused Warren of recently signing a letter, saying he wouldn’t enforce any state laws “relating to protecting the right to life in the state of Florida.”
One of the most contentious of those laws is a newly passed measure which bans abortions in the Sunshine State after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
“We’ve had prohibition on third trimester abortions for a long time. We’ve had prohibitions on partial birth abortions for a long time,” DeSantis said. “That is what the Legislature has enacted, and it’s not for him to put himself above that and say he’s not going to enforce the laws.”
DeSantis added that Warren signed a letter in June of 2021, saying he “would not enforce any prohibitions on sex change operations for minors.”
“That’s a debate that we’re having, mostly administratively and through medical licensing in Florida,” DeSantis said. “He said it doesn’t matter what the Legislature does in the state of Florida. He’s gonna exercise a veto over that.”
Warren took office in January of 2017. He’s being replaced by Susan Lopez, a judge on the Hillsborough County Court.
“I have the utmost respect for our state laws and I understand the important role that the state attorney plays in ensuring the safety of our community and the enforcement of our laws,” Lopez said. “I want to thank the governor for placing his trust in me, and I promise that I will faithfully execute the duties of this office.”
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for complete strangers and are resolved to “apprehend the criminals who prey on law-abiding citizens in our community.”
Chronister said they trust that the criminal justice system will hold those guilty accountable.
“The governor’s suspension of State Attorney Andrew Warren is not political to me,” Chronister said. “It’s about law and order. It’s about ensuring our loved ones are safe. It’s about the victims and their voices.”
Over the last several years, Chronister said Warren has acted like a “supreme authority by reducing charges, dropping cases, and single handedly determining what crimes will be legal or illegal in our county.”
Warren has not commented on his suspension. However, Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book issued the following statement Thursday about Warren’s removal:
“With his removal of a duly elected Democratic State Attorney who refused to enforce Florida’s extreme abortion ban, Ron DeSantis is behaving more like a dictator than ‘America’s Governor.’ Ron DeSantis continues to make it shamefully clear that he will always put partisan politics over the democratic will of the people.”
Earlier on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the governor teased on Twitter that a “MAJOR announcement” would result in “the liberal media meltdown of the year.”
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