Saying “the facts do matter,” suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren on Wednesday asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to rescind an executive order that ousted the prosecutor.
DeSantis’ Aug. 4 order accused Warren of “incompetence and willful defiance of his duties.”
Warren, a twice-elected Democrat, filed a federal lawsuit seeking to get his job back. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle on Friday ruled that DeSantis’ suspension violated the First Amendment and the Florida Constitution but that the federal court lacked jurisdiction to reinstate Warren.
“The record includes not a hint of misconduct by Mr. Warren,” Hinkle’s 59-page ruling said.
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In a letter to DeSantis on Wednesday, Warren pointed to the judge’s conclusions and asked for reinstatement so he could serve the nearly two years remaining in his term.
“Duty requires you to accept the court’s findings that the executive order is illegal, even if that finding is perhaps unwelcome,” Warren wrote.
The Columbia Law School graduate noted that, following “exhaustive discovery” and the trial, the governor now has more information than he did when he issued the suspension.
“The facts are now known, and the court’s findings are clear: I engaged in zero misconduct; the allegations in the executive order are false; and the suspension violates federal and state law,” Warren wrote.
On Friday, while saying Gov. Ron DeSantis violated the First Amendment and the Florida Constitution, a federal judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed against the governor by suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren.
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U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that a federal court could not act on the violation of the Florida Constitution and that, while DeSantis violated the First Amendment, the governor also based the suspension on factors involving Warren’s conduct — not speech.
The order pointed, in part, to a letter Warren signed pledging to avoid enforcing a new law preventing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Also, the governor targeted a statement Warren joined condemning the criminalization of transgender people and gender-affirming care.
In addition, DeSantis cited Warren’s policies that could limit the prosecution of cases related to bicycle and pedestrian stops by police and certain low-level offenses.
But Hinkle ruled that he could not overturn DeSantis’ decision based on the First Amendment. “Mr. Warren was indeed a reform prosecutor, exactly as he told voters he would be,” Hinkle wrote.
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“Disagreements about the proper prosecutorial approach are the stuff on which state-attorney elections properly turn. Disagreements like this are not the stuff on which suspensions properly turn. Even so, in this context Mr. Warren’s actual performance as a reform prosecutor was conduct, not speech protected by the First Amendment.”
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