Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspends state attorney Andrew Warren

Govt. Ron DeSantis on Thursday suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren, the chief prosecutor for the 13th Judicial Circuit covering Hillsborough County, after calling him “woke” and accusing him of refusing to properly enforce certain laws.

The governor cited positions Warren has taken on abortion laws, transgender medical treatment and other issues.

Warren is a Democrat who has been out front on criminal justice reform issues. He c the Florida Democratic Party’s Safety & Justice Task Force.

Republicans have pushed back against these reforms, arguing they are leading to an increase in crime.

Much of the focus nationally has been on liberal cities such as San Francisco, where the district attorney recently was recalled. Now Tampa is squarely at the center of that debate.

“Over the last few years individual prosecutors take it upon themselves to determine which laws they like and will enforce, and which laws they don’t like and won’t enforce and the results of this in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco have been catastrophic,” DeSantis said.

While DeSantis framed the issue as upholding the rule of law, the suspension has partisan overtones, with a GOP governor removing a Democratic official who twice was elected by voters in his county.

Andrew Warren was elected as State Attorney of Florida's 13th Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County, in November 2016 and re-elected in November 2020. Warren leads an office of approximately 130 prosecutors.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to challenge DeSantis, called the governor’s action against Warren “a politically motivated attack on a universally respected State Attorney democratically elected to exercise prosecutorial discretion.”

“DeSantis is a pathetic bully,” she said in a statement. “He’s doing this because he wants to be dictator, not a governor of Florida.”

US Rep. Charlie Crist, who is running against Fried in the Democratic primary for governor, said: “This action by Governor DeSantis is that of a wannabe dictator who puts partisan politics first.”

Govt.  Ron Desantis addressed a group of law enforcement officers in Escambia County in this file photo from June 17, 2022. DeSantis was in Tampa Thursday for a "major announcement."

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Warren was first elected to the position in November 2016 and then re-elected in November 2020 with 53% of the vote, but DeSantis said: “I don’t think the people of Hillsborough County want to have an agenda that is basically woke. “

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