DeSantis Suspends Prosecutor for ‘Dereliction of Duty’ on Crime

(Getty Images)
August 9, 2023

Florida governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis (R.) suspended the Democratic Orlando state attorney for allowing criminals to "escape the full consequences of their criminal conduct."

Monique Worrell, who was state attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Florida, was removed from office on Wednesday for "dereliction of duty."

"The state of Florida is a law and order state, and that means we support the men and women who wear the uniform who protect and serve," DeSantis said at the State Capitol in an announcement of the suspension. "The state of Florida is a law and order state and that means we have strong policies to hold criminals accountable for their misconduct. Prosecutors have a duty to faithfully enforce the law."

The governor pointed to Worrell's alleged practice of ignoring minimum sentencing requirements for crimes with guns and drugs.

"Prosecutors do have a certain amount of discretion about which cases to bring and which not," DeSantis said. "But what this state attorney has done is abuse that discretion and has effectively nullified certain laws in the state of Florida."

DeSantis made a similar move in August 2022 when he suspended former state attorney Andrew Warren for "neglect of duty."

"State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda," DeSantis said at the time.

The move is the latest instance of backlash against prosecutors and attorneys in the United States that the right accuses of being too lenient.

Kim Gardner, the former top prosecutor in St. Louis, quit her job in May after a legal battle with Missouri’s attorney general Andrew Bailey, who sought to remove her for neglecting her duties.

Chesa Boudin, the disgraced former district attorney of San Francisco, was ousted last summer after 55 percent of voters voted to recall him.