Controversial Suspension of Florida State Attorney Raises Questions about Gubernatorial Authority and Political Interference

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the suspension of State Attorney Monique Worrell, citing allegations of neglect of duty and incompetence.[0] This decision marks the second time DeSantis has used his authority as governor to suspend a top prosecutor.[1] The first instance occurred in August 2022 when DeSantis suspended Tampa-area prosecutor Andrew Warren for signaling that he would not bring charges under Florida’s new 15-week abortion ban.[2] Although a federal judge deemed the suspension unconstitutional, the decision was not overturned.[3]

In the case of Monique Worrell, DeSantis has appointed Andrew Bain, a judge on the 9th Judicial Circuit, to replace her as the state attorney.[1] Worrell’s alleged misconduct includes failing to issue minimum mandatory sentences for gun crimes and drug trafficking offenses, allowing juvenile offenders to avoid incarceration, and being lenient on charges in child pornography cases.[4] DeSantis claims that Worrell’s actions have endangered public safety and welfare.

Worrell, who is the only Black woman serving as State Attorney in Florida, has responded to her suspension by stating that she is a duly elected official and that her removal is a slap in the face to the residents of Orange and Osceola counties.[5] She argues that elected officials should not be removed solely for political purposes and accuses DeSantis of eroding local control and democracy.

DeSantis, on the other hand, asserts that it is his duty as governor to ensure that the laws enacted by the Legislature are followed.[6] He believes that Worrell abused her discretion as a prosecutor and nullified certain laws in Florida.[7] DeSantis argues that her administration of criminal justice in the 9th circuit was derelict and constituted neglect of duty and incompetence.[8]

The suspension of Monique Worrell has sparked controversy and drawn criticism from Democratic State Representative Anna Eskamani, who describes the action as disgusting and an attack on democracy. Eskamani believes that DeSantis is removing elected officials for political purposes.

Despite her suspension, Worrell has announced her intention to run for re-election in 2024.[9] In late March, she had already announced her candidacy while under investigation by the state and facing criticism from local sheriffs.

The battle between DeSantis and the suspended state attorneys is ongoing. Andrew Warren, the Tampa-area prosecutor who was previously suspended by DeSantis, has fought to regain his position but has been unsuccessful thus far.[10] A federal judge ruled that DeSantis violated Warren’s First Amendment rights but did not have the authority to reinstate him.[11]

The political and legal ramifications of these suspensions are significant, as they raise questions about the limits of gubernatorial authority and the protection of elected officials from removal for political reasons. The actions of Governor DeSantis have been divisive, with supporters applauding his efforts to ensure that laws are enforced and opponents accusing him of authoritarian behavior. The outcome of these cases will likely have implications for the future of prosecutorial discretion and the power of governors to suspend elected officials.

0. “Gov. DeSantis suspends State Attorney Monique Worrell for ‘failing to faithfully prosecute crime'” News 13 Orlando, 9 Aug. 2023,–desantis-suspends-state-attorney-monique-worrell

1. “DeSantis Suspends Soros-Funded Prosecutor for Neglect of Duty and Incompetence” The Maine Wire, 9 Aug. 2023,

2. “DeSantis suspends Orlando state attorney over ‘dereliction of duty’ on crime” Fox News, 9 Aug. 2023,

3. “Ron DeSantis suspends second elected prosecutor as his 2024 campaign struggles” NBC News, 9 Aug. 2023,

4. “DeSantis suspends Orlando state attorney, claiming ‘neglect of duty'” ABC Action News Tampa Bay, 9 Aug. 2023,

5. “Ron DeSantis suspends Democrat state attorney Monique Worrell for ‘neglecting’ duty to prosecute crime” UPI News, 9 Aug. 2023,

6. “Does DeSantis have the legal power to suspend a state attorney?” NBC 6 South Florida, 9 Aug. 2023,

7. “DeSantis Suspends Prosecutor for ‘Dereliction of Duty’ on Crime” Washington Free Beacon, 9 Aug. 2023,

8. “DeSantis suspends elected Orlando-area state attorney; Worrell calls it ‘political hit job'”, 9 Aug. 2023,

9. “Gov. DeSantis announces suspension of Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell” WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando, 9 Aug. 2023,

10. “Ron DeSantis removes another elected Democratic state prosecutor from office” The Independent, 9 Aug. 2023,

11. “Ron DeSantis SUSPENDS prosecutor for being ‘soft on crime’: Florida Governor says State Attorney Monique Worre” Daily Mail, 9 Aug. 2023,

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