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Florida Governor Removes Prosecutor, Leaving No Recourse in Federal or State Courts
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has removed Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren from his elected position, citing Warren’s “woke” positions and alleged “neglect of duty.” However, despite his removal, Warren has faced significant hurdles in seeking a hearing in both federal and state courts.

Warren initially sought reinstatement through the federal district court, filing a petition with U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida. In January, Judge Hinkle ruled that he could not order Warren’s reinstatement based solely on a violation of Florida law, citing the 11th Amendment. This setback prompted Warren to turn to the Florida Supreme Court for further legal recourse.

On June 22, Warren received another blow when the Florida Supreme Court ruled against him, asserting that he had waited too long to file a petition seeking reinstatement in state court. The court stated that Warren had delayed filing for over six months after Governor DeSantis’ suspension decision in August 2022. The Florida Supreme Court agreed with the governor, labeling Warren’s delay as “unreasonable” and “unexplained.”

  
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Governor DeSantis had suspended Warren because the state attorney had publicly pledged not to prosecute individuals in connection with abortion and had refused to prosecute certain misdemeanor crimes. The governor also cited Warren’s criticism of bills criminalizing medical treatments for transgender individuals. The Florida Supreme Court echoed the governor’s position, denying Warren’s petition based on unreasonable delay. However, the court acknowledged that it was unaware of the reasons behind Warren’s delay, stating that Warren had not provided an explanation.

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Interestingly, despite dismissing Warren’s lawsuit, the Florida Supreme Court criticized Judge Hinkle for reaching conclusions about the propriety of Governor DeSantis’ suspension order. Hinkle had previously stated that the governor’s actions violated the Florida Constitution as they were politically motivated and aimed to undermine a reform-minded prosecutor. The state supreme court found fault with Hinkle’s assessment, terming it “inexplicable.”

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Despite these setbacks, Warren still has potential avenues for seeking redress. The Florida Supreme Court noted that he could pursue review by the Florida Senate, which currently holds a Republican majority. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that Judge Hinkle’s ruling is under appeal at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, offering another potential opportunity for Warren to challenge the governor’s decision.

Several news publications, including the Associated Press, Law360, and the Legal Profession Blog, have covered the recent ruling by the Florida Supreme Court in the case of Warren v. DeSantis, shedding light on the legal battle and its implications.



It remains to be seen what further actions Warren may take and how the ongoing legal proceedings will unfold. The case has garnered attention due to the clash between an elected official and the governor’s authority, raising important questions about the limits of gubernatorial power and the protection of elected officials’ rights.

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