According to the governor, a statewide investigation into individual prosecutors revealed that Warren has “put himself publicly above the law.”
By Josh Miller
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – Governor Ron DeSantis officially suspended Florida State Attorney Andrew Warren after a statewide investigation into whether individual prosecutors across the state are upholding and enforcing Florida’s laws.
On Wednesday, the Governor’s press secretary tweeted that Governor DeSantis would make an important announcement the following day.
The announcement came at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. Sheriff Chad Chronister, three other county sheriffs, former Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Florida Representative Mike Beltran stood alongside the governor in support of the decision.
DeSantis began by stating that “our government is a government of laws, not a government of men – and what that means is that we govern ourselves based upon a Constitution and based on the rule of law.” Speaking about the investigation, he elaborated that “we looked into the record, and I can tell you it has been a very troubling record.”
Florida Representative Mike Beltran explained how Warren has tried 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.
The 13th Judicial Circuit state attorney “has put himself publicly above the law,” DeSantis said. According to the investigation, Warren signed a letter in June of 2021, stating that he would not enforce any prohibitions on sex change operations for minors and that it didn’t matter what the Florida legislature did – Warren would exercise a “veto” over that.
“The constitution of Florida has vested the veto power in the governor, not in state attorneys,” DeSantis said. He added: “We are not going to allow this pathogen of ignoring the law to get a foothold in the state of Florida.”
According to DeSantis, Warren signed a letter after the Dobbs decision by the Supreme Court, where he stated that he would not enforce any laws related to the protection of the right to life in the state of Florida.
Attorney General Ashley Moody reinforced the governor’s statement: “In our state, our top executive is Governor Ron DeSantis. It is his duty; he cannot ignore when our laws are not faithfully executed. He has no other choice than to step in and ensure the safety of this state and its communities,” Moody said.
A statement released by DeSantis’ office claimed that the suspension of Warren was not based on the abortion issue; rather, it was about accountability regarding law and order and how to prosecute crime. According to the statement, there has been “a pattern developing in Hillsborough County where one person picks and chooses which laws he wishes to enforce.”
Judge Susan Lopez will replace Warren as Florida state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit. Lopez, currently a county judge, has extensive experience as a prosecutor. She served as assistant state attorney from 2005 to 2008, after which she was appointed lead trial attorney. She later worked as deputy chief of the narcotics division, overseeing drug trafficking prosecutions.