A growing number of state prosecutors and district attorneys think their opinions trump the rule of law, according to Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis. The problem is their opinions materially affect the safety of the communities they serve. "No more," said DeSantis on Thursday in his 50-minute press conference. The Governor is responding to input from many in local law enforcement who say criminals are being let go and not being prosecuted. DeSantis announced the suspension of State Attorney Andrew Warren "effective immediately." He also intimated a plan to "eventually remove" him. DeSantis believes Warren is violating and neglecting his duty, "elevating his own personal ideas of social justice over what the law requires [of him]."
"It is not for him to put himself above the law. We don't elect people in one part of the state to have veto power over what the entire state decides on important issues. The Constitution of Florida has vested the veto power in the Governor, not in individual state attorneys. When you flagrantly violate your oath of office, and you make yourself above the law, you have violated your duty. You have neglected your duty, and you are displaying a lack of competence to be able to perform those duties. We are not going to let ignoring the law get a foothold here in Florida."
DeSantis' Executive Order Of Suspension says Warren is incompetent and has neglected his duty. It also states that the Governor does not have to prove malice or intent to suspend him. In Florida, State Attorneys are eligible for suspension by the Governor because "they cannot be impeached." DeSantis had ordered an investigation of Warren's actions and found a number of instances where he either put out "blanket refusals" to enforce criminal law or demonstrated a lack of proper prosecutorial discretion. Warren has allegedly flagrantly ignored laws in the state on numerous occasions, frustrating local law enforcement and citizens alike.
DeSantis referenced a letter from June of 2021 signed by Warren and 73 other "elected prosecutors and law enforcement leaders" that condemned what they described as "the criminalization of transgender people and gender-affirming healthcare." Representing 26 states, they railed against state legislatures whom they believe have "denied full and equal protection of the law" to transgender people in America. DeSantis says in his state that is the purview of the state legislatures and healthcare providers.
Then on June 24, Warren and these many elected prosecutors sent out another letter—this time responding to the recent decision on Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court in the Dobbs abortion case. The prosecutors and district attorneys flagrantly declined to use legal resources to "criminalize personal medical decisions." DeSantis rightly states that these law enforcement officers do not have the right to override laws made by "representatives of the people" of their states.
Fair and Just Prosecution/DeSantis/June 24,2022
Warren allegedly has flouted prosecutions on a myriad of other issues that directly affect the people in the communities who elected him. The investigation found instances of a failure to prosecute those resisting arrest by law enforcement officers and the institution of policies "of presumptive non-enforcement for certain criminal violations, including trespassing at a business location, disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxication, and prostitution." Prosecutors have discretion on individual cases but should not be categorically stating they won't enforce laws with which they disagree. Such decisions frustrate and undermine officers and eventually inflict harm on communities.
Several law enforcement officers spoke during the press conference, including Sheriff Chad Chronister from Hillsborough County. He said that Warren often made decisions at the expense of the "victims and their voices" and the "protectors of public interest." He said decisions regarding crime should not be political. Chronister said Warren has acted as an "adjudicator of all as if he is some type of supreme authority by reducing charges, dropping cases, and single-handedly determining what crimes will be legal or illegal in our county."
George Soros, who has funded many of these "reform" states' attorneys and prosecutors, claims there is no link between liberal prosecutors and rising crime. However, some Americans disagree. Citizens in the very liberal San Francisco recently recalled prosecutor Chesa Boudin for his prosecutorial policies that resulted in an alarming rise in crime rates. Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is also slated for a recall.
Fox News wrote that crime is on the rise in many Liberal cities with "unprecedented spikes in murders." In 2022, the Council on Criminal Justice found the homicide rate declined slightly in the first half of the year but "is still 39% higher than it was during the first half of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic."
"Crime data from Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., and found violent crimes have increased anywhere from nearly 5% to up to 40% compared to the same time frame in 2021. Violent crimes are typically defined as reports of rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault and murder.
Violent crimes have reached unprecedented numbers in the last two years, with murders increasing by nearly 30% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to FBI data. By 2021, homicides continued to rise in major American cities across the country, with the Council on Criminal Justice releasing data in January showing a 5% increase in homicides compared to 2020's wildly bloody year."
An August 3 column written by journalist John Kass aptly calls these "reform prosecutors" activists "his Johnny Appleseeds of urban anarchy." He worked for the Chicago Tribune in one of the most crime-ridden cities in the U.S. He warned of Soros' funding of radical prosecutors. Kass believes very little good comes from their policies—only "lawlessness and despair." The journalist was targeted for speaking up but continued to write about the issue anyway because he says:
"The larger issue isn't about me, but the suffering people of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and other jurisdictions where Soros has elected his prosecutors. The people and small business owners pay the real price, in blood and anguish, as victims of ever-increasing violent crime."