Monique Worrell sues Gov. Ron DeSantis in state court over suspension

'Ms. Worrell was elected to serve as State Attorney, not the Governor.'

Suspended State Attorney Monique Worrell is suing Gov. Ron DeSantis in the state’s highest court over her removal from office.

In a lawsuit filed with the Florida Supreme Court, the Democrat suggests the Governor hunted for months for a reason to suspend her, and came up with only a list of reasons unrelated to her ability to perform her duties. That makes DeSantis’ actions against her different than any legitimate suspension of a public official.

“The Executive Order purports to remove Ms. Worrell for ‘neglect of duty’ and ‘incompetence’ but fails to allege facts that, even if true, would relate to any neglect of duty or incompetence,” Worrell’s lawsuit reads. “This Court should, therefore, declare the Order invalid.”

DeSantis suspended Worrell in August, alleging the elected prosecutor abused prosecutorial discretion and diversion programs and allowed violent criminals to remain on the street.

Speculation the Governor would suspend the Orange-Osceola State Attorney spiked after a triple homicide in February, and the order came down shortly after the shooting of two Orlando police officers. In both incidents, the alleged shooters had been arrested on previous charges, but one never faced prosecution and another was out after Worrell’s Office declined to seek a pre-trial hearing.

But Worrell said DeSantis failed to show any pattern or practices that showed an unwillingness to enforce the law. That differs from past high-profile suspensions of State Attorneys, including DeSantis’ decision last year to suspend Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren for a pledge not to enforce a state ban on most abortions.

It also differs from former Gov. Rick Scott removing Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala, Worrell’s predecessor, from first-degree murder cases over her refusal to seek the death penalty.

“Unlike the executive orders at issue in Warren and Ayala, the Governor has not alleged any practice or policy that could constitute a refusal to exercise prosecutorial discretion,” Worrell’s lawsuit reads.

“Unable even to identify any ‘practices or policies’ of Ms. Worrell, the Executive Order instead attempts to infer that she has adopted practices or policies that result in reduced incarceration rates by comparing incarceration rate data from the Ninth Judicial Circuit to that of other Florida judicial circuits,” the lawsuit continues. “Such data, even if accurate, reflects a host of factors unrelated to the practices or policies of the state attorney and thus cannot be relied on to demonstrate that Ms. Worrell has practices or policies that result in lower incarceration rates.”

Ultimately, Worrell suggests it’s the Governor who overstepped his authority to decide how the State Attorney’s office in the judicial circuit is run.

“To the extent the Governor disagrees with how Ms. Worrell is lawfully exercising her prosecutorial discretion, such a disagreement does not constitute a basis for suspension from elected office. Ms. Worrell was elected to serve as State Attorney, not the Governor,” the lawsuit reads.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • tom palmer

    September 7, 2023 at 8:56 am

    This should be interesting, given the way DeSantis has packed the Florida Supreme Court with cronies.

  • It's Complicated

    September 7, 2023 at 9:51 am

    The crux of the issue in the Worrell case to be decided by the Florida Supreme Court is whether a Governor may suspend an elected State Attorney for misfeasance or malfeasance of “prosecutorial discretion”, particularly when public safety is in question.

    Was she elected by the public? Yes.
    Are people who did not vote for her, including literally millions of visitors to her district, in danger as a result of Worrell refusing to prosecute, materially downgrading serious felonies, and her policies leading to a revolving door of dangerous criminals in the system? Arguably, yes.

    This one is a LOT more justified than the suspension of Andrew Warren, IMHO. For the Worrell suspension, it is for what she is CURRENTLY doing, and for the Warren suspension, it is for what he PROMISED to do. May be a fine line, but when it comes to suspending elected officials, it needs to be a bright line.

    • Joe

      September 7, 2023 at 11:21 am

      Wrong! This is for the voters to decide, not a tiny wannabe autocrat trying to please his wife. FoxNews is melting your brain with RepubliQan propaganda.

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 7, 2023 at 5:49 pm

      it’s not at all complicated. the governor is an autocrat and should be sued often by many. how dare him mess with elected da’s

  • ScienceBLVR

    September 7, 2023 at 10:34 am

    Will be interesting to watch the AG on trial in Texas, a trial and impeachment proceedings spearheaded by his own party. Texas GOP doing this, surprising. It seems there is a preponderance of evidence against him and if true, he’s been engaged in criminal activity for quite some time. Charges based on criminal activity, not the immature whims of a tyrannical governor.

  • Earl Pitts "Judicial Go-To-Guru" American

    September 7, 2023 at 11:22 am

    Bottom line here America is that All Dook 4 Brains Leftists are opposed to every great and noble freedom our Great Nation was founded upon.
    So here for your understanding is the tightrope All Dook 4 Brains Leftists face.
    1. They must talk a believable “I hate America” position to keep the Dook 4 Brains Voters happy
    ***But…and there is always a But with leftists***
    2. From time to time they have to do a little more than just talk their $#!T — they actually have to “”Do” some bad $#!T from time to time because their voter base wont abide with just a $#!T Talker for very long. Oh no their voter base requires an actual $#!T “Do’er to keep the elected position.
    Well there is no manual for how to be a leftist $#!T do’er and not get fired. And any advice out there is always from another Dook 4 Brains Leftist who like themselves “Dont Know $#!T”.
    So America, I hope you appricate your little American Civics lesson today on the perials of being a Dook 4 Brains Leftist Who Dont Know $#!T Today in The USA.
    Thank you America,

  • Rick Whitaker

    September 7, 2023 at 5:46 pm

    sue him for all he’s got

  • Summer

    September 7, 2023 at 5:53 pm

    SUE the bastxxxcx.

Comments are closed.


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