Florida Sheriffs Association backs DeSantis' decision to suspend Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren

When Governor Ron DeSantis suspended Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, he did so with the vocal support of sheriffs from Polk, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties. 

"State Attorney Warren has acted as an adjudicator of law, as some kind of supreme authority," Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said during the press conference announcing the suspension.

Now, the Florida Sheriffs Association representing all 67 Florida sheriffs has filed a brief to support the governor's move. Even though the association filed the brief, it is not formally signed by any current sheriffs. It is backed by 11 Florida state attorneys who are all Republican. 

Gov. DeSantis criticized Warren and accused him of taking a "pick-and-choose" approach to prosecutions. The governor's suspension also stems from Warren's stance on vowing not to prosecute women or providers who violate Florida's 15-week abortion ban. 

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"He effectively usurped the role of the legislature by dictating to the sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies what is a crime," the Sheriff's Association's brief said. 

It also criticized a, "Presumption of nonprosecution for a variety of offenses, including charges arising from pedestrian and bicycle stops." It went on to say that, "these proclamations detrimentally impact a sheriff’s ability to effectively safeguard the public."

Warren claimed he is protected under the first amendment. The brief from the Sheriff's Association said, "This claim rings hollow because at all times he spoke in his capacity as the state attorney."

Warren told FOX 13 that the Sheriff's Association has a first amendment right to speak on the issue just like he does. 

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Warren also pointed out that several sheriffs, including Hillsborough County's, stopped enforcing evictions during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He cited another example of one sheriff who said he wouldn't enforce a registration requirement on assault rifles. 

"The irony is that in supporting the governor's illegal suspension, the sheriffs are ignoring their own history of pledging not to enforce certain laws they disagree with," Warren said. 

Warren said there were never any abortion cases that were brought before him. He will argue his suspension challenges the will of the voters, who elected him in 2016 and 2020.

"The danger here is really posed by the governor's abuse of power," Warren said.

Arguments are set to begin in court on Sept. 19 in Tallahassee.