Prosecutor suspended by DeSantis asks court to reinstate him

Feb 15, 2023, 7:10 PM | Updated: Feb 16, 2023, 9:33 am
FILE - This combination of Aug. 4, 2022, images shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and Hillsbor...

FILE - This combination of Aug. 4, 2022, images shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren during separate news conferences in Tampa, Fla. On Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, Warren, a twice-elected, Democratic state prosecutor suspended by DeSantis, filed an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the governor in a renewed bid to get his job back. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

(Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — An elected Florida prosecutor who says he was suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis for political gain — and because he is a Democrat — is asking the state Supreme Court to reinstate him, citing a federal judge’s ruling that DeSantis violated state law and his First Amendment rights.

Andrew Warren, a twice-elected state attorney for Hillsborough County, filed the appeal late Wednesday. It comes a month after a federal judge in Tallahassee dismissed his lawsuit on technical grounds while agreeing with Warren that the Republican governor fired him inappropriately.

“We’re asking the Florida Supreme Court to affirm that finding and instruct the Governor to follow the law and reinstate me to office. We’re asking them to reiterate that no one is above the law — not even the Governor,” Warren said in a statement. He is also asking a federal appeals court to reinstate him.

The governor has refused to reinstate the Tampa-based prosecutor, and his press office did not immediately respond Thursday to an email and phone call seeking comment on the latest appeal.

No hearing date has been set. DeSantis appointed four of the seven Florida Supreme Court justices, with the other three appointed by his Republican predecessors.

Warren could also appeal his suspension to the Florida Senate, where Republicans hold a 28-12 advantage.

Warren is citing last month’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, who said that while federal law prevents him from returning Warren to office though a lawsuit centering on state law, he agreed that DeSantis’ actions violated both Warren’s First Amendment rights and the Florida Constitution.

Hinkle, who was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton, said the evidence showed that DeSantis had no basis to find Warren incompetent or derelict in his duties, the two reasons cited for the suspension.

Instead, DeSantis targeted Warren because he’s a Democrat who has publicly supported abortion and transgender rights and because it would politically benefit him, Hinkle wrote. DeSantis is widely expected to run for president next year.

Hinkle called on DeSantis to voluntarily reinstate Warren “if the facts matter” to him. He said the governor and his staff never did a serious investigation of Warren before suspending him and ignored facts that argued against the dismissal.

The governor had accused Warren of incompetence and neglect of duty, arguing that the prosecutor was picking and choosing which laws to enforce, citing in his executive order the nonprosecution of crimes such as “trespassing at a business location, disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxication, and prostitution.”

DeSantis’ executive order also cited Warren’s endorsement of statements from prosecutors across the country pledging to not bring criminal charges against people seeking, providing or supporting abortion access — and opposed the criminalization of gender transition treatments.

No such cases were ever submitted to Warren, who has said that prosecutorial discretion over which cases to pursue and which to dismiss is a normal part of the job.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Three children and three adults were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Na...
Associated Press

Police: Nashville school shooting suspect was former student

Three children were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Nashville on Monday, hospital officials said.
13 hours ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Associated Press

Police: passenger pulled jet’s emergency slide before LAX to SEA flight

A passenger on a Delta Air Lines flight out of Los Angeles International Airport was detained for triggering the plane’s emergency slide prior to takeoff, authorities said.
13 hours ago
Law enforcement officials work at the scene along Wooding Road on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, east o...
Associated Press

Why murder defendant was free before killings in Washington

Kirkland Warren was out on bail pending a long-delayed murder trial in Arkansas. But when he was arrested in Washington, he posted bond and was released.
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Much of drought-plagued West Coast faces salmon fishing ban

The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges.
4 days ago
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) shoots while defended by Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton (45) in the first half...
Associated Press

Gonzaga beats UCLA 79-76 in Sweet 16 on Strawther’s shot

Julian Strawther hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer a 3-pointer by UCLA's Amari Bailey, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
4 days ago
Associated Press

Officials: Safety device, human error derailed Wash. train

A safety device failed, knocking a train off the tracks last week, spilling diesel after leaving an oil refinery in Anacortes.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Prosecutor suspended by DeSantis asks court to reinstate him