- Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended state attorney Andrew Warren on Thursday after being accused of neglecting his sworn duty
- Warren notably pledged not to uphold the state’s recently-signed 15-week abortion law
- Susan Lopez has been appointed to fill Warren’s vacancy for the duration of his suspension
- Democrat leaders following the announcement expressed frustration and concern over the decision
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced that he is taking executive action to suspend Hillsborough County state attorney Andrew Warren. The governor stated that the suspension is due to a “neglect of duty.”
Notably, DeSantis claimed that Warren pledged not to enforce the state’s recently-passed 15-week abortion law, as well as signing letters saying that he would also not enforce laws prohibiting sex changes for minors.
The governor’s press release states that he has the authority under the Florida Constitution to suspend state officials for reasons of misfeasance, malfeasance, or neglect of duty.
State leaders and sheriffs stated Warren repeatedly tried to install himself as an arbiter of what laws will and will not be enforced within his jurisdiction.
“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. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida.”
The announcement immediately drew reactions from lawmakers and similarly-elected officials across the state.
“Ron DeSantis, wannabe dictator, just suspended Florida State Attorney [Andrew Warren] for saying he wouldn’t prosecute Florida’s cruel and unacceptable 15-week abortion ban. This is outrageous and dangerous,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried.
Meanwhile, Florida Senate Democrat Leader Lauren Book took to Twitter to express dissatisfaction of the removal of an elected official.
“Authoritarian Governor Ron DeSantis just suspended a twice-elected Democratic State Attorney because he would not enforce Florida’s 15-week abortion ban,” said Book. “DeSantis continues to put his political career ahead of the beliefs of Floridians. Voters will hold him accountable.”
In wake of the measure, DeSantis appointed Hillsborough County Judge Susan Lopez to serve as acting state attorney during Warren’s suspension.
Lopez was appointed by the governor to serve as a Hillsborough County judge in 2021, previously serving as the Assistant State Attorney in the 13th Judicial Circuit.
“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.”