Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the suspension of Florida State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit for picking and choosing which crimes he wanted to prosecute.
Warren has claimed that he will not prosecute anyone for performing sex change surgeries on minors, late term abortions, or partial birth abortions — all of which are illegal in the state.
As such, DeSantis asserted that Warren was engaging in “neglect of duty.”
The governor held a press conference to announce the suspension on August 4 at the Hillsboro County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are suspending Soros-backed 13th circuit state attorney Andrew Warren for neglecting his duties as he pledges not to uphold the laws of the state,” DeSantis’ office said in a statement.
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) August 4, 2022
During the announcement, DeSantis explained that prosecutors across the nation have been selectively enforcing laws and often freeing violent offenders. He pointed out that many of the prosecutors refusing to enforce laws are receiving large donations to their campaigns from people with “an agenda” who do not live in those states.
Left-wing billionaire George Soros has infamously funded campaigns for soft-on-crime prosecutors and earlier this week he vowed that he will not stop doing so — even with rising crime in many of those places.
“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.”
During the press conference, DeSantis asserted that “the constitution of Florida has vested the veto power in the governor, not in state attorneys. We are not going to allow this pathogen of ignoring the law get a foothold in the state of Florida.”
In the order suspending Warren, DeSantis asserted that he has a “fundamentally flawed and lawless understanding of his duties.”
DeSantis said that in June, 2021, Warren signed joint statement with other prosecutors vowing not to enforce laws related to gender-change treatments for children or bathroom usage based on “gender identity.”
“We pledge to use our discretion and not promote the criminalization of gender-affirming healthcare for transgender people,” the statement asserted.
The statement added, “we are committed to ending this deeply disturbing and destructive criminalization of gender-affirming healthcare for transgender people.”
The order also pointed out that Warren has announced his refusal to enforce the state’s abortion laws. In another joint-statement with prosecutors from other states on June 24, 2022, Warren publicly proclaimed in writing that he will not prosecute individuals who provide abortions in violation of Florida’s criminal laws.
“Warren’s erroneous understanding of his duties 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 stated.
The statement Warren had signed asserted, “enforcing abortion bans runs counter to the obligations and interests we are sworn to uphold,” and “as such, we decline to use our offices’ resources to criminalize reproductive health decisions and commit to exercise our well-settled discretion and refrain from prosecuting those who… provide or support abortions.”
“Our legislatures may decide to criminalize personal healthcare decisions, but we remain obligated to prosecute only those cases that serve the interests of justice and the people.”
DeSantis’ order states, in no uncertain terms, that Warren’s refusal to uphold Florida laws is intended to be a “functional veto” on the policies of the Florida legislature.
It adds, “as a result of his open and notorious repudiation and nullification of Florida law, as well as his blatant defiance of the Florida Legislature, Warren can no longer be trusted to fulfill his oath of office and his duty to see that Florida law is faithfully executed.”
During the press conference, many members of the law enforcement community spoke out against Warren.
“Andrew Warren is a fraud,” former Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan said. “This is a terrible day, that the governor had to come and clean up our mess.”
Gov. DeSantis has appointed Susan Lopez to serve as State Attorney for the period of suspension.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Watch the full press conference here:
Governor Ron DeSantis makes an announcement about law enforcement. https://t.co/LfTJ4cUxMJ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) August 4, 2022
The press conference was ongoing at time of publishing. This story will be updated with additional details as it continues.