Suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren speaks out on DeSantis petition

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Hillsborough County's suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren
Andrew Warren on WMNF. Zoom screen capture, 20 Sept. 2022.

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Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis asked a federal court for a rehearing on a decision that favored Hillsborough County’s elected State Attorney Andrew Warren.

In August 2022, DeSantis suspended Warren for advocating against abortion and gender-affirming care bans.

But Warren sued, feeling his suspension was illegal. A U.S. district judge agreed with Warren, but said he couldn’t order his reinstatement. But recently, a 3-judge panel of an appeals court ordered the judge to reconsider that decision.

“The court found that the governor suspended me for reasons that violated federal law. Because I’m a Democrat. Because of my political advocacy, free speech. Because I spoke out in support of Roe v. Wade, which is also free speech.”

However, last Thursday, DeSantis requested a rehearing before a  full appeals court, saying that the decision “stymies the governor’s power.”

Warren says, according to Eleventh Circuit rules, this would be an “extraordinary” procedure.

“We don’t know how long the court will take, but, obviously, there’s a concern here because there’s an election is coming up, and more importantly, it’s been 18 months since the voters have been denied an elected official they chose.”

Desantis appointed Suzy Lopez to be the Hillsborough County State Attorney. In a news release, Warren called her an unelected political puppet.

But still, Warren isn’t seeking re-election.

“My focus is not on running, it’s on serving, and my focus right now is getting back to do the job I was elected to do by the people of Hillsborough County.”

While DeSantis can suspend public officials, the Florida Senate has ultimate authority about whether to remove them from office. The Senate hasn’t weighed in while the court battle plays out.

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