Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida sacked Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren in August 2022. The Tampa Bay Times claimed at the time that DeSantis indicated the termination was due to “disregard for his responsibility to enforce state laws.”
At the time, DeSantis stated at a press conference that Warren had “put himself publicly above the law” by signing letters stating he would not enforce laws preventing gender-affirming care or limiting abortion. DeSantis suspended Warren, so terminating his employment.
“Our government is a government of laws, not a government of men,” DeSantis said.
A Florida court has already determined that Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is not need to testify in a case brought by a prosecutor he fired for not enforcing the state’s abortion ban.
According to The Washington Examiner, the prosecutor, Andrew Warren, was suspended by the governor in August after declaring that he would not enforce the state’s 15-week abortion law.
Warren subsequently filed a lawsuit against the governor and state, arguing that his right to free expression had been infringed.
Documents filed in advance of the upcoming trial show how the governor’s administration planned media coverage over the suspension.
A former legal clerk highlighted the “benefits” and “drawbacks” of several alternatives, such as whether to suspend Warren or allow him to remain in office, in a note. The document also stated that the prosecutor’s “profile” may expand if there was a political battle over the suspension, using language such as “a leftist prosecutor is removed from a position of power.”
WFLA reported in September that U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle denied Andrew Warren’s reinstatement while his case against the Republican Florida governor proceeds.
The former state attorney claimed that his dismissal violated his constitutional right to free expression and that the governor abused his authority.
“Mr. Warren is an elected official and his speech is protected by the first amendment,” Warren’s attorney said at a press conference after the hearing.
This is an intriguing argument. Would it apply to a police officer who opted not to make arrests for offenses he or she judged insignificant?
The lawsuit requests Warren’s reinstatement and prohibits Gov. DeSantis from taking similar action against him in the future.
“We look forward to a trial where the governor can come in and explain to the court why he thinks what he did is in compliance with federal law and state law,” the suspended attorney said.
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
“The judge is clearly and rightfully so interested in what the governor would say in a judicial forum and the trial would be that opportunity,” his attorney said. CONTINUE READING…