On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that, effective immediately, his administration would be suspending State Attorney Andrew Warren.
Prosecutors have a duty to enforce the law, not pick and choose which laws they agree with.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) August 4, 2022
The State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, Andrew Warren, has instituted nonenforcement policies and has declared that he will refuse to enforce laws he doesn’t like. pic.twitter.com/EbSbCRrLHa
“So when you flagrantly violate your oath of office, when you make yourself above the law, you have violated your duty, you have neglected your duty and you are displaying a lack of competence to be able to perform those duties,” DeSantis said in a press conference on Thursday. “And so today we are suspending state Attorney Andrew Warren, effective immediately.”
“We are not going to allow this pathogen that’s been around the country of ignoring the law. We are not going to let that get a foothold here in the state of Florida. We are going to make sure that our laws are enforced and that no individual prosecutor puts himself above the law, and I can tell you the states and the localities that have allowed this to happen, they are ruing the day,” DeSantis said.
“You want to know why some people are moving to Florida? Because their communities are no longer safe, thanks to prosecutors that think they know better than the people’s representatives and they get to pick and choose which laws that they’re enforcing,” he added.
DeSantis said that this was an “important” issue, and that it received input from across the state.
Susan Lopez, State Attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit, has been appointed to fill Warren’s place during his suspension.
In the order of suspension, it states that as early as June 2021, “Warren demonstrated his incompetence and willful defiance of his duties as a state attorney,” coming when he signed a “joint statement” alongside other prosecutors “in support of gender-transition treatments for children and bathroom usage based on gender identity.”
“Although the Florida Legislature has not enacted such criminal laws, these statements prove that Warren thinks he has authority to defy the Florida Legislature and nullify in his jurisdictions criminal laws with which he disagrees,” the order states.
The order also cited Warren’s “erroneous understanding of his duties” which “recently culminated in his public declaration that he would not enforce criminal laws enacted by the Florida Legislature that prohibit providers from performing certain abortions to protect the lives of unborn children.”
The order states that “Warren has effectively nullified these Florida criminal laws in the 13th Judicial Circuit, thereby eroding the rule of law, encouraging lawlessness, and usurping the exclusive role of the Florida Legislature to define criminal conduct.”
“State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” said DeSantis in a statement. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida. I have the utmost trust that Judge Susan Lopez will lead the office through this transition and faithfully uphold the rule of law.”
“I have the utmost respect for our state laws and I understand the important role that the State Attorney plays in ensuring the safety of our community and the enforcement of our laws,” said Lopez. “I want to thank the Governor for placing his trust in me, and I promise that I will faithfully execute the duties of this office.”