A federal judge concluded on Friday that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had removed an elected state prosecutor in violation of the First Amendment and the Florida Constitution, but that the federal courts lacked the authority to order his reinstatement.
In a ruling dismissing the case, US District Judge Robert Hinkle stated that he could not reinstate elected prosecutor Andrew Warren under Florida law due to federal law, according to the AP. Due to the prosecutor’s signature on declarations that he would not press charges against those who seek or offer gender transition therapies or abortions, as well as on guidelines for not prosecuting some minor crimes, DeSantis suspended Warren last year.
In order to regain his position, Warren, a twice-elected Democratic state attorney in Hillsborough County, which encompasses Tampa, sued the governor in federal court. At a brief press conference on Friday, Warren said, “Anyone who cares about free speech, the integrity of our elections, or the rule of law should send shivers down the spine of the thought that a governor can defy federal and state law to suspend an elected official.”
He assured reporters, “This is not over. Warren claimed in court that his suspension stemmed from his individual political views on transgender rights and abortion rights. He claimed that his office used prosecutorial discretion to decide whether to file charges in every situation, taking into account the public’s safety and other aspects.
Despite finding that the case is basically a state matter and cannot be decided by a federal judge, Hinkle’s conclusion substantially agrees with Warren’s reasoning, according to the AP.
“Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis temporarily removed Andrew H. Warren from office on the pretext that he had a general policy of not pursuing certain types of cases. The claim was untrue, “Hinkle composed. Nevertheless, he continued, “the Eleventh Amendment forbids a federal court from granting declaratory or injunctive relief of the kind at issue against a state official based simply on a violation of state law.” An inquiry for comment was not immediately responded to by DeSantis’ office.
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