ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA — Yesterday, Ryan Newman, general counsel for Governor Ron DeSantis, sent a letter to Orange County State Attorney Monique Worrell requesting a host of records, communications and documentation related to Keith Melvin Moses. Last week, Moses was arrested and accused of horrific acts in a series of shootings that left three people dead – a mother, her nine-year-old daughter, and a news reporter.
“The shocking nature of these horrific acts is difficult enough to process, but even more galling is the fact that the man who was promptly arrested for these crimes, Mr. Keith Melvin Moses (aka Keith Moses), date of birth June 11, 2003, has been allowed to remain on the streets after multiple arrests, including one your office has refused to prosecute,” the letter from the Office of the Governor states.
VIOLENT CRIMINAL HISTORY
Moses was reported as a “known gang member,” according to Newman, with a criminal history that includes assault, aggravated battery and grand theft. When Moses was stopped for possession of cannabis in November, the arrest affidavit stated that Moses was previously charged with attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery.
Newman told Worrell at the 9th Judicial Circuit that Moses should have never been in a position to commit the senseless shootings last week in Pine Hills.
“The failure of your office to hold this individual accountable for his actions – despite his extensive criminal history and gang affiliation – may have permitted this dangerous individual to remain on the street,” Newman wrote in the letter.
“DUTY TO PROSECUTE CRIMES”
DeSantis’ general counsel went further by saying that the governor must determine if Moses was enabled by gaps in sentencing laws that must be corrected or if Worrell’s office failed to properly administer justice.
DeSantis has been very vocal in rebuking progressive prosecutors who attempt to adjudicate what laws will and will not be enforced – a role reserved for the courts through a separation of powers in the Florida Constitution.
“State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his [or her] personal agenda,” said Governor Ron DeSantis last August when he suspended former Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida.
The Florida Standard reported on DeSantis’ move last August to suspend Warren for “incompetence and neglect of duty.” The governor’s authority to suspend state officials for valid reasons was upheld on January 20 by a federal judge who cited Article IV, Section 7 of the State Constitution.
The Governor has the authority under the Florida Constitution to suspend state officials for reasons of misfeasance, malfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony. The Governor has further authority to fill that office by appointment for the duration of the suspension.