The Phoenix Flyer

Andrew Warren asks FL Supreme Court to reinstate him as state’s attorney

By: - February 16, 2023 3:10 pm

Suspended Hillsborough County prosecutor Andrew Warren addresses reporters on Nov. 29, 2022, Day One of his federal lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis. Credit: Michael Moline

Andrew Warren, a twice-elected state prosecutor suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis, has taken his case for reinstatement as Hillsborough County state’s attorney to the Florida Supreme Court.

In a motion filed with the court on Thursday, attorneys for Warren cited a federal judge’s Jan. 20 ruling that DeSantis violated the state and federal constitutions by suspending Warren under false pretenses.

DeSantis’ executive order suspending Warren “violates Article IV, Section 7, of the Florida Constitution first because it is founded on proven falsehoods and second because, even ignoring that its factual claims have been adjudged false, none of the factual allegations reasonably relate to any of the enumerated constitutional grounds for suspending Mr. Warren,” the motion reads.

“Instead, the executive order seeks to substitute the governor’s own discretion and policy preferences for Mr. Warren’s while at the same time making false claims about Mr. Warren’s job performance.”

The governor deemed Warren guilty of neglect of duty in balking at charging crimes involving provision of abortion or transgender care. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that DeSantis never established that conclusion and really acted for political reasons.

Hinkle declined to reinstate Warren, however, ruling that he lacked authority to do so.

Earlier this week, Warren appealed Hinkle’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta. The state court action won’t interfere with the federal case.

In their 69-page motion filed with the state Supreme Court, Warren’s attorneys argued that “the governor has exceeded his constitutional authority by suspending Mr. Warren from office and replacing him with a handpicked ally for whom no one has ever voted.”

The suspension threatens “the sovereignty of voters in Florida’s 20 judicial circuits,” the motion adds. “Moreover, as long as the Executive Order remains in place, the people of Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit are, wrongfully, without their duly elected minister of justice.”

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal.