DeSantis suspends top prosecutor in Orlando
“We will not tolerate a State Attorney who pursues an agenda at the expense of Floridians. Florida is a law-and-order state. As long as I’m Governor, it will stay that way,” DeSantis said
August 9, 2023 11:15pm
Updated: August 9, 2023 11:15pm
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday removed State Attorney Monique Worrell of the 9th Judicial Circuit, which serves Orange and Osceola counties.
“It’s my duty to protect the people of Florida,” DeSantis said during a news conference.
“We will not tolerate a State Attorney who pursues an agenda at the expense of Floridians. Florida is a law-and-order state. As long as I’m Governor, it will stay that way,” he added.
DeSantis removed the Democratic state attorney citing several criminal cases, including that one involving a teenager that was charged with fatally shooting a television reporter and a 9-year-old girl. According to DeSantis’ administration, failed to hold 19-year-old Keith Moses accountable for the crime, despite his extensive criminal record and gang affiliation.
“In November (sic) of 2022, 17-year-old Lorenzo Larry shot and killed his pregnant girlfriend De’Shayla Ferguson. He had previously been arrested in May of 2022 on several charges, including carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm on school property, and criminal possession of a firearm by a minor, but he was released after all these arrests. Worrell’s office did not act on any of these charges until after he killed his girlfriend and their unborn child,” DeSantis said.
The governor also said that Worrell, in general, avoided giving out minimum mandatory charges in other cases, including gun crimes, child pornography, and drug trafficking, thereby allowing repeaters to avoid incarceration.
“Prosecutors do have a certain amount of discretion about which cases to bring and which not, but what this state attorney has done is abuse that discretion and has effectively nullified certain laws in the state of Florida. That breaches her duties that she owes to the people of Florida under our state Constitution and provides the basis for the suspension,” DeSantis explained.
Worrell claimed that her removal was a political move and suggested that it was timed to distract people from DeSantis’ stagnant presidential campaign. Worrell, who was elected in 2020 with 66% of the vote, said that she would seek reelection.
“He needed to get back in the media in some positive way that would be red meat for his base and he will have accomplished that today,” she said. “He replaced his campaign manager yesterday, and I guess today it's my turn.”
Worrell is the second state attorney that DeSantis has removed from office. Last year, the Florida governor suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren from Tampa after he stated that he would not pursue criminal charges against seekers or providers of abortion or gender transition treatments.
DeSantis appointed Judge Andrew Bain as Worrell’s replacement for the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
“My plan is to bring back a simple understanding, get back to the basics of what we’re here to do. It does not accomplish anything to prosecute a case with no intent to stop crimes. I will make this office accountable to the community we serve and to ensure crimes, criminals who poison society, cause mayhem and murder, are held accountable under the law,” Bain said.