On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, WLRN reported that suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren said he remains focused on being reinstated to his elected position, as his legal battle against Governor Ron DeSantis continues.

Warren spoke at a virtual press conference alongside Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried. He discussed the ongoing court proceedings related to his lawsuit against DeSantis, who removed him from office in August 2022 for signing statements opposing certain abortion and gender-affirming healthcare laws.

While Warren expressed his dedication to seeing the reinstatement case through, he did not confirm whether he intends to run for reelection in November. His lawyers have indicated a reelection bid could depend on the resolution of the federal lawsuit.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a previous ruling and found that a federal court does have authority to remedy violations of Warren’s First Amendment rights. The appeals court instructed the district court judge to hold further proceedings examining if DeSantis’s suspension of Warren was truly based on job performance or political advocacy.

However, state lawyers have now petitioned for an “en banc” rehearing before the full 11th Circuit bench, which could prolong a final decision. Warren commented he hopes for expedited action due to the impending election cycle. Hillsborough County voters have been without their elected leader for 18 months, he noted.

Warren was first elected as Hillsborough County State Attorney in 2016 and reelected in 2020 as a Democrat. In the interim, DeSantis has appointed Suzy Lopez, a former county judge and Republican, to fill the remainder of Warren’s term. Lopez is running for a full term in November.

Additionally, Warren had taken his case to the Florida Supreme Court last year but was denied on grounds of too much time elapsed. He emphasized at the press conference his career-long work as a prosecutor fighting for victims and his more recent role as a plaintiff defending democracy and constitutional rights.

Fried affirmed the Florida Democratic Party would ensure a choice for Hillsborough County voters in November regardless of the lawsuit outcome. Though she hopes Warren prevails, the party will support another strong Democratic candidate if needed.

 

 

Source: WLRN