Governor DeSantis Suspends State Attorney Andrew Warren for Refusing to Enforce Florida Law
Tallahassee - Thursday August 4, 2022: Governor Ron DeSantis has suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren for what he called Warren's "neglect of duty".
The Governor made the announcement at a news conference Thursday morning at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. He said Warren has "put himself above the law" by refusing to enforce laws prohibiting sex changes for minors, or limiting abortion.
Warren is a democrat who has been a frequent critic of the republican Governor. In March he posted a statement on his Twitter account saying:
State Attorney Warren: "I am disgusted to see the passage of the 'Don't Say Gay' bill. At a time when our state needs to unite to solve important problems, this bill fosters prejudice and hatred-and our society already has enough of both. We deserve elected leaders who care more about public policies that help Floridians than partisan tricks that divide us."
Warren's describes himself on his Twitter account as a "criminal justice reformer, husband, father, former federal prosecutor, native Floridian, proud American."
“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 the Governor. “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.”
Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is a candidate for the democratic nomination for Governor, issued a statement calling the suspension "a politically motivated attack on a universally respected State Attorney democratically elected to exercise prosecutorial discretion." Rival candidate for the democratic nomination Charlie Crist held a news conference Thursday afternoon slamming the Governor's decision.
The Governor has the authority to suspend a state officer for reasons of misfeasance, malfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony.
Warren's suspension became effective immediately on Thursday and the Executive Order states that the period of suspension "shall be from the effective date hereof, until a further executive order is issued, or as otherwise provided by law."
Attorney Susan Lopez has been appointed to serve as State Attorney for the period of suspension. She most recently served as a Judge on the Hillsborough County Court.
“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 Susan Lopez, State Attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit. “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.”
Click HERE to view the order suspending Andrew Warren and appointing Susan Lopez.
Susan Lopez was appointed by Governor DeSantis to serve as a judge on the Hillsborough County Court in 2021. She previously served as Assistant State Attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit for more than 15 years and as Staff Attorney of the Second District Court of Appeal. She received her bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and her law degree from Suffolk University. She is a long-time resident of Tampa and has been involved in the Hillsborough community through a variety of organizations for many years.