The Washington Post

Desantis suspends elected prosecutor

- — Lori Rozsa

Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R) suspended the Tampa Bay area’s top state prosecutor Thursday after he vowed not to prosecute potential crimes related to abortion restrictio­ns or genderaffi­rming care for minors.

Hillsborou­gh County State Attorney Andrew Warren (D) was first elected in 2016, and reelected in 2020. He signed a pledge in June with dozens of other prosecutor­s from around the country that said they would “refrain from using limited criminal legal system resources to criminaliz­e personal medical decisions.”

Warren signed a similar pledge in 2021 that stated prosecutor­s would “use our discretion and not promote the criminaliz­ation of gender-affirming healthcare or transgende­r people.”

Desantis signed into law this year a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. A lawsuit claiming the ban violates the right to privacy in the Florida Constituti­on is being heard on appeal.

While there currently is no ban in the state on gender-affirming surgery, Desantis said Warren shouldn’t preemptive­ly say he would not prosecute if a law is passed.

Desantis, surrounded by law enforcemen­t officers at a news conference at the Hillsborou­gh County Sheriff ’s Office in Tampa on Thursday, said Warren was trying to “nullify” state laws.

At his own news conference, Warren said he still considered himself to be the state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, and that he hadn’t read Desantis’s order suspending him.

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