FL Judge Won’t Dismiss DeSantis Request To Dismiss Lawsuit Filed By State Prosecutor

FL Judge Won’t Dismiss DeSantis Request To Dismiss Lawsuit Filed By State Prosecutor

A court turned down Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a prosecutor he had suspended in August for breaking the state’s new statute banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, saying he wanted more information about the governor’s reasoning.

DeSantis issued an executive order suspending Andrew Warren on August 4, charging the twice-elected Hillsborough County Democrat of “incompetence and intentional contempt of his duties” for refusing to uphold the state’s abortion statute.

Even while Judge Robert Hinkle declared on Monday that the trial could start, he also denied Warren’s request to temporarily return to his previous job.

Hinkle, a Clinton appointee, stated that he preferred to have the case resolved in court rather than restore Warren now with the possibility of doing so again in the future. According to a number of media reports, Hinkle didn’t seem to be fully persuaded by DeSantis’ case and was hoped a full trial would help him make up his mind.

Warren stated in a statement that he “look[s] forward]” to the case coming to trial and that the governor “having the chance to come into court — where facts and truth count — and try to defend what he did.” Warren noted that the trial could start as early as next month.

According to a press release from DeSantis’ office on August 4, Warren was suspended in accordance with Article IV, Section 7 of the Florida Constitution. The governor said that the suspension followed an examination of the whole state, which revealed that Warren’s office was primarily to blame for most instances of laws not being upheld.

However, Warren’s signature on letters stating he would not enforce restrictions on gender-confirmation procedures for children and would not prosecute abortion cases was also used by DeSantis’ administration.

DeSantis allegedly violated the First Amendment, according to the lawsuit filed by the prosecutor who was suspended, and the governor’s executive order “did not identify any actual conduct by Warren related to his official duties involving any alleged criminal activity for seeking gender-affirming health care or abortion.”

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Warren’s speech in his comments, on the other hand, wasn’t protected because “it is government speech,” according to state solicitor general Henry Whitaker, who is the governor’s representative.

Whitaker informed the judge that Andrew Warren “has no First Amendment right to claim that he’s not going to do his job.”

BACKGROUND

Andrew Warren, an elected prosecutor in Tampa, was suspended on Thursday by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for promising not to use his position to pursue anyone who seek or perform abortions or medical professionals who treat transgender patients in a way that affirms their gender.

DeSantis charged Warren with “neglect of duty” and “incompetence” as Hillsborough County’s state attorney in his executive order. At a news conference in Tampa, DeSantis stated, “To take a stance that you have veto powers over the laws of the state is unsustainable. Hours later, in a response, Warren said that DeSantis was “trying to subvert democracy here in Hillsborough County.”

DeSantis claimed that the decision to suspend Warren was made after he instructed staff to look into any instances in which Florida state attorneys had “taken it upon themselves to determine which laws they like and will enforce,” in response to seeing other states’ prosecutors choose not to file charges for specific crimes. They discovered Warren as a result of their study, who has emerged as an outspoken proponent of criminal justice reform and the reversal of incorrect convictions.
During the news conference, former Tampa police chief Brian Dugan remarked, “The governor shouldn’t have had to come to Hillsborough County and clean up our mess.” “Really, that’s what everything boils down to.”
For misconduct, misbehavior, neglect of duty, intoxication, incompetence, persistent incapacity to fulfill official responsibilities, or the commission of a felony, a governor may dismiss “any county officer” in Florida. The Florida Senate has the authority to either remove an official from office or restore them.

I’m still the legitimately elected state attorney of Hillsborough County, Warren adamantly proclaimed during a previously scheduled news conference where he presented two suspects in a pair of 40-year-old cold case killings.

Warren referred to speculations that DeSantis is generally thought to be a candidate for the GOP nominee in 2024 and said, “If the governor feels he can do a better job, then he should run for state attorney or not President.”

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