Much ink has been spilled over Gov. Ron DeSantis’ installation of a competent and conscientious State Attorney for Hillsborough County, where I have spent most of my adult life attempting to improve our justice system.
Unfortunately, no publication has explained the constitutional provisions that not only allowed, but required, DeSantis to suspend State Attorney Andrew Warren and replace him with Judge Susan Lopez. This decision was not made lightly, or even suddenly, and the Governor, myself, and our law enforcement partners provided an hour of detailed explanation earlier this month.
Unfortunately, the content of our remarks, as opposed to Warren’s complaints, received scant coverage.
Article IV of the State Constitution, Section 1(a), states that the Governor “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed …”
This provision is not a mere suggestion or best practice; it is an affirmative and binding command in the very first sentence of our foundational document controlling our government, including the office of Governor.
Article IV, Section 7(a), states that the Governor “may suspend from office any state officer not subject to impeachment, … any county officer, for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony, and may fill the office by appointment for the period of suspension.”
Warren easily met several of these criteria.
Just this summer, Warren’s office turned the “Fish Hawk Kidnapper” loose on bond after failing to move for pretrial detention. This man has been charged with incidents involving actual or potential child victims in Fish Hawk, Lake City and Alabama.
Despite repeated requests from my office and other officials, Warren failed to provide even the courtesy of directly returning a call of another elected official, instead sending staffers to attempt to mollify me in my attempt to advocate for my constituents to be protected from violent crimes against children.
In another recent incident, Warren agreed to no jail time, and dismissal after a short interval of good behavior, for a young man who shot one of my constituents in the back of the head, execution style, to “scare” him. As shown by centuries of penological studies, if dangerous persons are not deterred, confined, punished and rehabilitated, then they will reoffend.
Contrary to the commentary in your publication, the Governor has not improved his already high political standing or advanced any further ambition by sacking Warren, who — as the liberals rightly note in otherwise pervasively erroneous analysis — was elected by the popular vote of Hillsborough County, the Soros manipulation and slim margin in a blue wave election notwithstanding.
As for the suggestion that an elected official may, once elected, derelict his duty with impunity, we need not venture far back into history to see seriatim efforts from the left to undermine Donald Trump, a duly elected Republican President. Even more recently, protesters called for the removal of Supreme Court Justices, who are insulated from popular opinion by constitutional design, while decrying the removal of Warren, who is not.
Warren announced his refusal to prosecute serious crimes against small businesses, law-abiding citizens, women, the unborn, and even young children. Warren’s six-year record of soft on crime prosecution dedication to lawlessness. Nor is “mere talk” insufficient to justify the suspension.
Under our constitution, elected officials include legislators, who draft the laws; the Governor, who signs our laws; State Attorneys, who (are supposed to) file charges; and judges, who adjudicate cases. All of them do only three things: they read, write, and speak.
Warren failed to perform those critical tasks consistent with his constitutional oath.
Warren thereby perpetrated constitutional fraud upon the people of Hillsborough County and breached the social compact enshrined in Article IV of our state constitution. By attempting to exercise an extraconstitutional veto over state law, despite being elected by a narrow margin in Hillsborough County only, Warren disenfranchised millions of Floridians and their legislators from across the state, who are also duly elected.
Warren abdicated his role, violated the separation of powers, and left his constituents unprotected from violent crime.
Unfortunately, a popular election is necessary but not sufficient for continuance in office, which requires an official to perform the duties he swore to perform.
If Warren thinks he knows how to make law better than the Legislature and the Governor, he should run for the state House, instead of remaining absent from the courthouse.
I doubt he would fare very well in south Hillsborough County, where he has undermined my efforts to keep the community safe.
Michael Beltran is the state Representative for House District 57, which covers southeast Hillsborough County.
David In Shoreline
August 18, 2022 at 8:08 pm
Very well written defense of Governor DeSantis’ decision to suspend Warren.
August 18, 2022 at 8:12 pm
Sometimes it doesn’t take long to “Read someone’s beads” as my granny used to say, but Michael Beltran reveals himself within short order. I live in a neighboring county, but never heard of him, so maybe this is the best platform he can find. To know that he is familiar with centuries of penological studies, is impressive, I’ll admit, but once he throws the “Soros manipulation” evidence out there, well, the bead reading is quite clear. Now I can tell granny who this guy really is. Vote blue folks.
August 20, 2022 at 11:06 pm
I am a constituent in Hillsborough County and Rep. Beltran happens to be my representative. The State Attorney Andrew Warren has failed our community and has failed to keep violent felons incarcerated while awaiting trail. I would have to make several post of the felons that should not have been released who murdered a Mother and another who murdered someone’s son. I will share my neighbors story because people should know the truth.
This is from my friend talking about State attorney Andrew Warren.
While I am not one to be heavy into politics (nor long post), I do take my right to vote seriously and I believe every vote matters. With that said, I’d like to share the following, as it is weighing heavy on my heart. My hope is that my story will provide some insight into our justice system, the importance of knowing the candidates, and why your vote is so important.
As many of you know, my 18 year-old son, Grant was killed 8 years ago in Tampa. He was stabbed in the chest with a homemade shank by a 25 year-old man (imprisoned several times), who had recently moved into our neighborhood in NE Tampa. Grant was found face down in a neighbor’s driveway at 7:30 pm on July 19, 2012.
The man was arrested within 24 hours. He was found in my son’s car, wearing my son’s shoes, with my son’s blood on him. The man had mental illness and was found incompetent to stand trial. He was placed in a mental hospital, until such time he was found competent to stand trial.
Over the first 4 years of the case, my family was supported by State Attorney Mike Ober’s office. We worked with one Prosecutor who was dedicated to fighting for my son’s rights. She was in constant communication with us, providing insights into the legal system and all motions filed. She took the time to know about Grant and my entire family. We were confident that she and the SA office was doing everything to bring justice for Grant’s death.
For the next 4 years, under the current SA Andrew Warren’s office, our experience was frustrating, disappointing, and disheartening. We had 3 different Prosecutors and little to no action taken in the case over the 4 years. Communication was minimal and usually was a delay in response to my inquiries. With each Prosecutor, there was less and less involvement. My biggest fear had come true, Grant’s life had become a box of files on someone’s desk.
The end of 2019, the defense filed a motion to dismiss the charges. Seems there is a law which states if a person is found incompetent for 5 years straight, then charges can be dropped. (This is a totally different issue that needs to be addressed). I was assured by the Prosecutor under SA Warren’s office, that the man would not be released from the hospital and that if he ever was, the State Attorney would refile the charges, immediately. Two days after the hearing, the man was found competent and was released. I was told that SA Warren had chosen to not refile the charges, with no additional explanation.
Where was the person/s who was supposed to fight on behalf of my son? The State Attorney’s office sole purpose is to be the voice of the people, enforcing the law, and fighting for the victims on behalf of their families.
Over the past couple of months, I have been sharing posts from Mike Perotti’s FB page. Mike is running against the incumbent Andrew Warren for State Attorney, 13th District in Tampa. Mike stands for the well-being of victims and his office will fight on behalf of the victims and their families.
Please get to know your local representatives, what they truly stand for, and vote! And to all my Tampa friends, Please vote for Mike!
Grant, we miss you so much!!!!
August 18, 2022 at 8:34 pm
I almost stopped reading when he mentioned “the lefts” attempts to undermine Donald Trump because A) that’s all Republicans do in Washington is obstruct and sabotage government elsewhere and B) The crook Trump undermined himself with lies, stupidity, crime, and just generally not getting along with anyone. Then talk about Soros pretty much ended my willingness to read the rest of the article.
August 18, 2022 at 8:48 pm
Christian people do not vote for anyone who supports the father of lies Donald Trump. You’ve been led astray, duped, deluded, decieved. Look at the signs… lotta women and sex, lotta lies, lotta money, lotta crimes. Repent or you will burn in screaming hell for eternity. You’ve been warned.
August 18, 2022 at 9:43 pm
With Warren going to federal court over a state issue definitely shows he truly does not understand the Florida Constitution nor the law.
August 19, 2022 at 9:42 am
So where would you file a lawsuit for a first amendment violation? Seems federal court would be the correct venue, no?
August 19, 2022 at 12:51 am
Ofcourse he is correct, he’s America’s Governor!
August 19, 2022 at 5:18 am
“By attempting to exercise an extraconstitutional veto over state law. . .”
That is the nut of the argument, well stated and wholly correct.
It surprises me that there is even any debate about this, but that shows how the proggies roll–whatever their take they portray it as an example of high morality, and anyone who dares oppose them is called names. I wish people like the above lefties would try to remember that, when you are speaking to a discerning audience, foolishly calling them names merely shows how empty you are of reason. Children in the schoolyard call each other names.
By the way, stop referring to yourselves as a couple of defunct NYC street personalities. I do not know what led you to steal their identities but, really, it’s silly. Whose name are you going to swipe next–the old Soup Nazi? The Naked Cowboy? At least he thought he could be president someday.
August 19, 2022 at 7:53 am
Donald Trump is a defunct NYC street personality. Why would a bunch of southern people vote for a greasy foul mouthed NY billionaire anyway? The carpet bagger and snake oil salesmen took southern people for a hay ride through hell…now many jailed? When man? When will you people come to grips with what you’ve done for Christ sakes? When will you people repent? People used to pride themselves on admitting wrongdoing but not these days. By God you people are dogs…set a bad example for the youth who will not attend your funerals as a result.
There are no patroits
August 20, 2022 at 8:41 am
Wait what? I am pretty sure you voted for Trumpf, isn’t he the daddy of name calling? You are a blind hypocrite
Thomas Newcomb Hyde
August 19, 2022 at 8:41 am
Michael Beltran is a Harvard law school graduate whose comments reflect a keen understanding of
Florida Constitutional law and the duty of all officials to follow that law. We are grateful to have such a man of knowledge and integrity as Michael Beltran.
August 20, 2022 at 2:57 pm
Warren refused to pursue a case against a person I had evicted after over 1 year of no payment while he was still operating his business and making steady cash flow. The man destroyed the entire office building including pouring cement down the toilets and breaking walls accounting for over $90,000 worth of damage. I had surveillance footage before and after the incident that showed his vehicle there at 3 am and receipts left on the floor from papa John’s that showed he had the nerve to order pizza for him and his friends the night he vandalized the office. He refused to pursue because it was an election year and the person of interest was black. Even the TPD detectives shared their frustration with me over it.. but hey what are you gonna do? Right? Good riddance to Andrew warren
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