Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended a Tampa-area elected state attorney on Thursday, who signed a pledge that he would not prosecute people under the state’s newly enacted abortion law.
Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren has vowed not to prosecute any women seeking abortions from their doctors; Warren has also vowed to protect transgender minors undergoing gender transition treatment. The suspension of 13th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Andrew Warren was effective immediately.
DeSantis said he made the decision because Warren was picking and choosing which laws to enforce. His decision was a stunning override of the 369,129 Hillsborough County voters who cast their ballot for Warren in 2020, which made up 53.4 percent of turnout.
DeSantis cited ‘neglect of duty’ and ‘incompetence’ in the order suspending Warren.
According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Skyler Swisher, Democratic State Representative Dan Daley is calling DeSantis out as hypocritical.
“All you have to do is Google ‘Florida sheriff not enforcing,’ and there are so many examples, mostly related to guns," Daley said. "If this is the game you are going to play and tell me it’s not political, you better start suspending those people too.”
A simple Google search does offer multiple results for sheriffs who claim they will, and do not, enforce Florida gun laws. In Seminole County, Florida Sheriff Dennis Lemma told gun activists he wouldn’t enforce a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would require owners of semiautomatic weapons to register them with the state. Sheriff Lemma has not been suspended or received any formal reprimanding, instead he was applauded by a crowd when making the statement.
State Attorney Warren was suspended by DeSantis, but has not yet been removed from office, which will require involvement from the Florida Senate.
Warren says he is assembling his legal team to fight the order and announcements related to the legal case will be made in the coming days.
“Let me be clear," he said on Sunday. "I’m not going down without a fight. I’m a former federal prosecutor, the duly elected State Attorney, a native Floridian, and a proud American. I refuse to let this man trample on your freedoms to speak your mind, to make your own health care decisions, and to have your vote count.”
Governor DeSantis named Hillsborough County Judge Susan Lopez, whom he appointed as judge in December, to fill the vacancy. She has already reversed a decision made by Warren, and is now seeking the death penalty against Matthew Terry, who is accused of murdering a Hillsborough teacher.