TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Former Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren called on Governor Ron DeSantis to "reinstate me as Hillsborough County's duly elected state attorney for the remainder of my four-year term without further delay."
Warren's request was in a letter to Governor DeSantis sent just days after a federal judge ruled that his court did not have the power to reinstate Warren, despite finding that the removal violated the Florida Constitution.
DeSantis suspended Warren last year over the elected prosecutor’s signing of statements that said he would not pursue criminal charges against seekers or providers of abortion or gender transition treatments, as well as policies about not charging people with some minor crimes.
Warren — a twice-elected, Democratic state attorney in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa — sued the governor in federal court to get his job back.
In a statement that accompanied his letter, Warren said after the judge sided with him as a matter of law, DeSantis should reinstate him.
“When the governor and I were sworn in, we both put our hands on the Bible and swore to uphold the laws of Florida and the United States," Warren said in the statement. "Now a federal judge has ruled that I did my part and that the governor broke his oath. This is the opportunity for the governor to do the right thing and show that his oath to uphold the law wasn’t just empty words.”
Judge Hinkle's decision largely sided with Warren's arguments but finds that the case is effectively a state matter that cannot be resolved by a federal judge.
From Judge Hinkle's ruling:"The Governor violated the First Amendment by considering Mr. Warren’s speech on matters of public concern—the four FJP policies save one sentence—as motivating factors in the decision to suspend him.
Governor DeSantis accused Warren of incompetence and neglect of duty, arguing that the prosecutor was picking and choosing which laws to enforce, citing in his executive order the non-prosecution of crimes such as “trespassing at a business location, disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxication, and prostitution.”
For his part, Warren used DeSantis' words to finish his letter.
"Though we may continue to disagree on matters of policy, let us show the nation, together, that you will honor your oath of office and that you believe what you said on the day you announced my suspension: that the state of Florida continues to be a government of law, not a government of men," Warren wrote.
Read the full letter here:
Governor DeSantis' office hasn't commented on the Warren letter.