Supreme Court of Florida stands with DeSantis over 2023 booting of Soros-backed prosecutor

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis got the backing of the state Supreme Court on a previous decision he made to remove a Soros-backed prosecutor.

The high court ruled against efforts by former State Attorney Monique Worrell to be reinstated in her job after DeSantis suspended her in August 2023 because of an alleged “dereliction of duty.”

(Video Credit: WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando)

“The practices and policies of her office have allowed murderers, other violent offenders, and dangerous drug traffickers to receive extremely reduced sentences and escape the full consequences of their criminal conduct. In some cases, these offenders have evaded incarceration altogether,” DeSantis said at a press conference last year.

“State Attorney Worrell’s practices undermine Florida law and endanger the safety, security, and welfare of the communities that Ms. Worrell was elected to serve,” the former GOP presidential candidate said.

Worrell called it an “outrage” and argued in a lawsuit that her removal was an “arbitrary, unsubstantiated exercise of the suspension power.”

On Thursday, in a 6-1 ruling the Florida Supreme Court said it “cannot agree” with the former state attorney.

“We cannot agree with Worrel that the allegations in the Executive Order are impermissibly vague, nor that they address conduct that falls within the lawful exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” the opinion read.

“We have said that a suspension order does not infringe on a state attorney’s lawful exercise of prosecutorial discretion where it alleges that such discretion is, in fact, not being exercised in individual cases but, rather, that generalized policies have resulted in categorical enforcement practices,” it continued.

The justices had set the parameters of their role as “confirming that the governor has specified the applicable grounds for suspension” and asking “whether those allegations bear a reasonable relation to the asserted basis for the suspension.”

The governor’s executive order “passes this test,” they found.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Jorge Labarga said that “the allegations in the executive order are insufficient to provide her with sufficient notice to allow her to mount a meaningful defense” and noted that Worrell was “overwhelmingly elected in 2020 with more than sixty-five percent of the vote.”

Following the court ruling, Worrell issued a statement saying the court’s opinion was “disappointing but not a surprise.”

“The governor appointed most of the justices on Florida’s Supreme Court. They took the easy way out by refusing to examine whether the governor’s claims had any factual basis. They do not, and the Court today, with the exception of the dissenting justice, rubber-stamped a political stunt,” she claimed.

“I still believe in the right of voters to choose their State Attorney, even if Florida’s politics currently do not respect this principle. When I am reelected, I will continue putting public safety and accountability above politics. I wish the governor would do the same,” she added.

Frieda Powers

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