Suzy Lopez reflects on first year as State Attorney
Image via State Attorney's office.

Suzy Lopez
The message to constituents comes as Lopez faces her 1st election to the office.

Suzy Lopez, the Hillsborough County State Attorney who replaced Andrew Warren after Gov. Ron DeSantis gave him the boot, is reflecting on her first year leading the department in a message to constituents and other stakeholders.

She notes “impactful work … in such a short amount of time.”

“We have successfully shifted back to basics: evaluating each unique case based on the facts, not political convenience,” Lopez wrote, in what appears to be a reference to her predecessor’s ouster.

Warren, who was twice elected to the office, was suspended from office by DeSantis last August, and later removed entirely.

DeSantis cited Warren’s refusal to enforce bans on abortion and gender-affirming surgery, moves DeSantis said at the time meant Warren “put himself publicly above the law.”

DeSantis replaced Warren with Lopez, who previously served as a Hillsborough County judge, a position to which DeSantis had appointed her.

Since then, Lopez wrote that she and her team “have been laser-focused on strengthening relationships with our law enforcement partners” who she said were “severely strained” before her appointment.

“Our daily collaboration has enhanced safety and communication in our community. Under my watch, criminals are not getting a free pass. We pursue justice always with a focus on crime victims and their families and will continue to fight for them every day,” Lopez wrote.

The letter comes nearly one month after Lopez officially filed for election to the office. It will be the first time voters have a chance to weigh in on her service as State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit. So far, she’s the only one in the race.

Her message notes “a historic year for Hillsborough County’s first female State Attorney.”

“I deeply appreciate everyone in my office for their unwavering dedication to making our neighborhoods a safer place,” Lopez wrote. “From our attorneys and support staff to victim advocates and investigators, success is not possible without the tireless efforts from each one of them. I look forward to continuing this journey together.”

The email includes a photo of Lopez with Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, who supported her initial appointment to the office, and Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw.

An email accompanying Lopez’s message touts her communication with victims, including 37 families “to help them through the most difficult times of their lives.”

“These families now have the support of an entire team — the assigned attorney, a victim advocate, and the State Attorney herself,” the email reads. “The deep loss each family experiences is personal, and State Attorney Lopez believes the attention they deserve must be personal as well.”

The email also includes several testimonials from officials praising her work.

James Uthmeier, DeSantis’ Chief of Staff, wrote that “she rebuilt the community’s trust, re-established a relationship with law enforcement, and has been a tough-on-crime leader who has worked to bring back the rule of law to Hillsborough County.”

Added Chronister: “She has remained focused on holding criminals accountable, seeks justice for victims and works with stakeholders to find alternatives for individuals that may deserve a second chance after making a simple mistake.”

Bercaw praised Lopez’s “professionalism and leadership” while former Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said she “restored credibility and transparency” to the office.

Several others also offered glowing praise, including Plant City Police Chief James Bradford, Temple Terrace Police Chief Kenneth Albano, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, Safe & Sound Hillsborough Executive Director Freddy Barton, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay CEO Clara Reynolds, and Tampa Citizens Review Board member and retired U.S. Army Col. D.J. Reyes.

The email also included a rundown of accomplishments over the last 12 months, including the Seminole Heights killer’s admission of guilt for murdering four people — a case that had been ongoing for several years before Lopez’s appointment to the office.

The email also touts ending the State Attorney’s Offices longest standing case. Michael Keetley, who was responsible for a double murder in Ruskin in 2010, was sentenced to life in prison.

Other accomplishments include obtaining the death penalty for Steven Lorenzo for the murders of Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz, cracking down on teen violence, and increasing community collaboration.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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