Andrew Warren, the Democratic Hillsborough County State Attorney suspended by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, sent a letter to the Governor asking to rescind the suspension and reinstate him as a prosecutor.
The move comes after last week’s ruling from Tallahassee federal court Judge Robert Hinkle, which upheld the suspension but found DeSantis violated Warren’s First Amendment rights to free speech. Hinkle determined DeSantis would have suspended Warren anyway based on his actions, not just to silence a progressive prosecutor.
“The judge’s ruling is crystal clear: the governor’s accusations against me were totally false and the suspension was illegal,” Warren said in a released statement. “I think if you ask anyone who believes in the rule of law, they’ll tell you what the governor should do is obvious.”
Hinkle also found DeSantis overstepped his authority under the state constitution in suspending Warren, who had been twice elected by Hillsborough County voters to be State Attorney. But because he was a federal judge, the Eleventh Amendment prevented him from reinstating Warren on that basis and referred that matter to state courts to adjudicate.
Warren hasn’t yet said if he’ll appeal the ruling. For now, he’s asking DeSantis to give him his job back.
“After a full and fair trial concerning my suspension, with unlimited time and a full array of federal discovery available to your office to demonstrate otherwise, a United States District Court has emphatically stated that I had executed my duties under the law without a hint of misconduct and that my suspension violates the United States and Florida Constitutions,” Warren wrote in the letter.
“Accordingly, pursuant to your oath of office to uphold both constitutions and your solemn duty to execute Florida law faithfully — including your power to suspend local officials — I respectfully request that you voluntarily reinstate me as Hillsborough County’s duly elected state attorney for the remainder of my four-year term without delay.”
Warren was first elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020. DeSantis replaced him with Republican Susan Lopez.
Under the Florida Constitution, the Governor has the power to remove local officials from office for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, incompetence, drunkenness, the incapability of performing their duties or the commission of a felony.
The state Senate, though, has the power to uphold the suspension and permanently remove them from office or reinstate the official. The Senate’s process, though, is on hold until the legal wrangling over the suspension plays out.