Gov. DeSantis suspends Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren

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Warren, elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020, was suspended for ‘picking and choosing which laws to enforce.’

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit, which covers Hillsborough County, claiming he refused to enforce the law.

“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 personal agenda,” DeSantis said in a released statement. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida.”

Warren has said he won’t enforce Florida’s new law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

DeSantis is replacing Warren, who was elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020, with Susan Lopez, a Hillsborough County Court judge appointed by DeSantis in December. Previously, she worked as an assistant state attorney in the 13th Judicial Circuit for 17 years.

“I have the utmost trust that Judge Susan Lopez will lead the office through this transition and faithfully uphold the rule of law,” DeSantis stated.

“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.”

Under the state constitution, a Governor has the power to suspend a local official for “misfeasance, malfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony.”

The suspension, though, is not a permanent removal from office. Warren can dispute the suspension and, if DeSantis’ allegations of neglect of duty don’t meet legal muster, be reinstated.

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