Gov. DeSantis suspends Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren

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

Gov. Ron DeSantis is suspending State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit, replacing the progressive prosecutor with County Judge Susan Lopez. The Governor made the decision claiming Warren refused to enforce the law.

“Andrew Warren has put himself publicly above the law,” DeSantis said. “The Constitution of Florida has vested the veto power in the Governor, not an individual State Attorney.”

In announcing Warren’s suspension, the Governor cited Warren’s refusal to enforce bans on abortion and gender-affirming surgery. Most recently, Warren pledged he would not enforce Florida’s new law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“It’s been a very, very troubling record,” DeSantis said. “They’re literally chopping off the private parts of kids.”

Warren, who was elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020, has pushed for justice reform throughout his tenure. While his progressive approach has earned praise from some, DeSantis criticized his use of power.

“This is something that I think is a very, very important issue across our country, that this movement would be allowed to take hold, where you basically elevate your own personal conception of … social justice over what the law requires of you,” DeSantis said. “I just think that to take a position that you have veto power over the laws of this state is untenable.”

DeSantis admitted he had not consulted with Warren before the announcement, pointing instead to his statewide review from law enforcement feedback.

“My office consulted with a lot of people. This was a statewide review to make sure that we were not going down the road of San Francisco, Los Angeles,” he said. “Everything anyone said was right here; I didn’t hear the same in Duval, in Miami Dade or any of that — it was all right here.”

Attorney General Ashley Moody also spoke Thursday, slamming Warren for not being “tough on crime.”

“When Andrew Warren first took office, he proudly joined with prosecutors from New York, Washington, LA and said, ‘I will not enforce and be tough on crime. Proudly, I will not be tough on crime,'” Moody argued.

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She also threw in national rhetoric, taking a jab at federal leadership.

“You are seeing an eradication of stability and safety around our nation starting with our border into our large cities,” Moody said. “It’s because an executive who has been trusted to enforce and execute laws has abandoned that responsibility.”

DeSantis is replacing Warren with Hillsborough County Court Judge Lopez, who DeSantis appointed in December. Previously, she worked as an assistant state attorney in the 13th Judicial Circuit for 17 years.

“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 a trial in the Senate could be held to reinstate him or uphold DeSantis’ suspension and remove him from office.

The last Senate trial was in 2019 when the chamber voted 25-15 to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, whom DeSantis suspended shortly after taking office for Israel’s handling of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in 2018. Israel tried to get his old job back but was defeated by DeSantis’ pick for his replacement, Gregory Tony, in the 2020 Democratic Primary.

Such a trial is rare, however, and DeSantis’ predecessors have used the power to suspend officials sparingly, mostly only when someone is arrested or indicted.

For example, in 2017, several GOP lawmakers, including then-House Speaker Richard Corcoran, called on former Gov. Rick Scott to suspend Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala from office because she refused to seek the death penalty under any circumstance. Scott declined to suspend Ayala but did move 30 murder cases eligible for the death penalty to a state attorney in a neighboring district.

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Kelly Hayes and Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Staff Reports


30 comments

  • Elliott Offen

    August 4, 2022 at 10:50 am

    Mini Hitler strikes again. Forced birth of meth babies and crack babies must be done! Meth babies and crack babies are the future of the Church and the GOP.

  • Impeach Biden

    August 4, 2022 at 10:53 am

    He disregards the laws of the state of Florida so his sorry ass should be replaced.

  • Bill

    August 4, 2022 at 11:00 am

    If you want to change the law, vote out the current incumbent and get it done. Nothing to be gained by picking and choosing what you will and won’t do. Given the buildup, it’s a nothing burger.

  • dana galen

    August 4, 2022 at 11:35 am

    If an official chooses to avoid performing official duties as written in the law, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Case closed.

    • Tom

      August 4, 2022 at 12:09 pm

      Yes and thank you Dana!
      These idiots like Elliot, Dave, and hand wringer bill, are Soros backed Manchurians. Complete ignoramuses.

      America’s Gov the best Florida Gov ever!

      • Elliott Offen

        August 4, 2022 at 12:22 pm

        ^ Antisemitic conspiracy theorist…hard core neo-nazi propagandist.

        • Yrac Revod

          August 4, 2022 at 1:41 pm

          SMH So we should eliminate all undesirables? I’m good with that as long as I get to choose who’s undesirable. How about all people who don’t contribute to society such as the mentally ill and criminals? How about entire minority groups that don’t pay taxes as a whole, and instead has to be propped up by the higher achieving groups? You sound like a genocidal maniac.

      • Jason Crandall

        August 4, 2022 at 2:16 pm

        The evil Soros strikes again. But it’s OK for Koch or other billionaires to support Republicans.

      • Jim

        August 4, 2022 at 3:16 pm

        So right

  • dave Roberson

    August 4, 2022 at 11:39 am

    DeSantis is proving once again that he is an authoritarian who wants to be a dictator. Similarly, Rick Scott removed Aramis Ayala and now a sensible progressive like Warren is being harassed because ReThuglicans have no real agenda other than to keep and maintain power.

    • Fernando

      August 14, 2022 at 9:25 am

      Hey do u know about The DNC’S relation with the KKK with men like George Wallace & Robert Byrd . Go take a History lessons and learn facts about the political party u support.

  • Tom

    August 4, 2022 at 11:47 am

    America’s Governor sets the agenda in state and nationally.

    Soros Manchurians will not be tolerated!
    Prosecutors,
    Public officials entrusted to uphold the law will be held to the highest standards!

    Greatest Governor sets the mark!
    Chameleon and Fraud can’t touch this.

    • Joe Corsin

      August 4, 2022 at 12:24 pm

      Nobody but you a maybe a handful of other people know wtf a “Soros Manchurian” is. You sound like an imbecile. Seek help…

      • Jim

        August 4, 2022 at 3:18 pm

        Maybe you are the idiot, do you know the reference?

    • Jason Crandall

      August 4, 2022 at 2:17 pm

      Again always bringing up Soros but ignoring the billionaires who support Republicans.

      • Elliott Offen

        August 4, 2022 at 3:06 pm

        It’s a plutocracy. All the division just serves the rich…and their political under lords. We’re in ancient Rome now. Next stop is various forms of slavery and quite possibly neverending civil disturbances. Bernie Sanders is the answer….

  • marylou

    August 4, 2022 at 11:54 am

    Warren is an elected official with a responsibility to use his prosecutorial discretion in service to the people of Florida, including protecting their religious rights– as in this situation. Something that deranged clown in Tallahassee should be doing instead of defying the will of Florida voters.

    • Jim

      August 4, 2022 at 3:20 pm

      You dems have no capacity for good reasoning.

  • Going to far?

    August 4, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    What interests me is whether or not there is evidence that the state can point to, such as actual cases that were not tried. If there is not, then isn’t this just a case of Warren exercising free speech? Is it enough to prove dereliction of duty, if you have talked about it, but not actually acted on it? For someone appointed, perhaps, but for someone elected, perhaps not. My own preference would be for locally elected prosecutors to use their own discretion and keep or lose their jobs accordingly; not just to do whatever a politician tells them to do.

  • Hector J

    August 4, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    This is exactly what happens when we live under an extreme Fascist government. This mini-me Maga set his own rules based on his beliefs only and forces them on all Floridians whom do not support his extreme views.
    This is why Floridian have to stand up now and campaign hard until November and vote this extremist along with other magas out of office.

  • tom palmer

    August 4, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    I dont think we’ve heard the last of this one. Be curious how the voters will react in November after being accused of political crimes for electing Warren.

  • rust

    August 4, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    Abort Rona DeSatan! And Tom, thanks for the laugh about “america’s governor” again. Always reminds me of Rudy with his hair dye dripping and the Four Seasons Total Landscaping! And hey everyone, I AM WOKE!!!!

  • PeterH

    August 4, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    Let’s be honest! There is nothing Conservative about Ron DeSantis’s leadership.

    This unnecessary action is just a distraction from his continuing failed leadership. He’ll be noted in history books as the worst State governor and joined in a side-by-side picture of his mentor Donald Trump …America’s twice impeached worst President.

  • Jose Gaspar

    August 4, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    I helped elect Andrew Warren knowing full and well what I was getting. If I wanted “tough on crime” or a prosecutor of abortion providers then I would have voted for that. I don’t appreciate someone who doesn’t live here deciding what’s best for my community.

  • Qwerty

    August 4, 2022 at 2:53 pm

    All Soros’ back State an or District Attorney’s need to be legally removed from office.

  • Tom

    August 4, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    Wah Wah Wah, towel boy peter h, rass my ass, Corbin incest best, idiot Elliot, and soros Manchurian nation.

    You have met your doom. America’s Gov is all kahones. It’s obvious he’s In your Soros brains.

    America’s Gov whizzes upon you all regularly.
    As he said, your heads are exploring!
    LMAO.

    Just for the record, legislature makes laws with Govs signature, and the locals follow and abide by law. Discretion my ass. You all have lost your minds.

  • Margaret Evans

    August 4, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    Just another move by a dictator who ignores the will of the people of Florida. Andrew Warren was duly elected by the people and not to do DeSantis’ bidding. Vote out DeSantis so we can function as a democracy. People fled other countries to live in FL, only to be dictated to once again.

  • Rude Eye

    August 4, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    Adolf DeSantis strikes again, he is trying to silence more of those who use free speech to disagree with his policies. Please silence him by voting him out of office this November.

    Oh by the way, how’s the homeowner Insurance problem coming along these days?

Comments are closed.


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