Florida Gov. DeSantis suspends progressive prosecutor over 'dereliction of duty,' she fires back with insults and promised legal action

August 11, 2023
Ben Marquis

On Wednesday, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took executive action to suspend and remove from office a progressive Democratic state attorney who he accused of "dereliction of duty" for failing to sufficiently prosecute crimes in her jurisdiction.

Now that suspended prosecutor, Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Monique Worrell, has fired back at the governor by claiming that his action against her constituted a "loss of democracy," according to Fox News.

She further accused DeSantis of being a "weak dictator" who was motivated by partisanship and a desire to boost his "failing and disastrous presidential campaign."

Progressive prosecutor suspended for failure to fully enforce laws

In a Wednesday news release, the office of Gov. DeSantis announced that State Attorney Worrell had been suspended "for neglecting her duty to faithfully prosecute crime in her jurisdiction. Worrell’s practices and policies have too often allowed violent criminals to escape the full consequences of their criminal conduct, thereby endangering the innocent civilians of Orange and Osceola counties."

The release went on to cite the governor's statutory authority to suspend state officers and revealed that former Judge Andrew Bain, who previously served as both a judge and assistant state attorney in the Ninth Judicial Circuit, had been appointed to serve in Worrell's stead for the duration of her suspension.

"It is my duty as Governor to ensure that the laws enacted by our duly elected Legislature are followed," DeSantis said in a statement. "The people of Central Florida deserve to have a State Attorney who will seek justice in accordance with the law instead of allowing violent criminals to roam the streets and find new victims."

Suspended prosecutor lets loose on governor

In response to the suspension, local Fox affiliate WRBW reported that State Attorney Worrell held a press conference in which she told reporters, "If we're mourning anything this morning, it is the loss of democracy. I am your duly elected state attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, and nothing done by a weak dictator can change that. This is an outrage."

"Three years ago, I was elected by the people of the Ninth Judicial Circuit to lead this circuit and, yes, to do things unconventionally, to do things differently," she continued. "But I didn't hide. I didn't say that I would do things and I didn't do them. I didn't say I wouldn't do things and not did them. I did exactly what I said I would do. And that is what you want from an elected official."

"Elected officials are being taken out of office solely for political purposes, and that should never be a thing," Worrell said as she referenced the prior "very high standard" for the removal of elected officials and now lamented that "under this tyranny, elected officials can be removed simply for political purposes and by a whim of the governor."

"This is simply a smokescreen for Ron DeSantis' failing and disastrous presidential campaign. He needed to get back in the media in some positive way," the suspended prosecutor asserted. "That would be red meat for his base, and he will have accomplished that today.

"He will be in the news nationally and internationally for the individual who has single-handedly destroyed democracy in the state of Florida. He replaced his campaign manager yesterday. And I guess today it's my turn. He is replacing me," she added.

Suspended prosecutor vows legal action

WRBW further reported that Worrell vowed to fight back against the executive action by Gov. DeSantis in court.

"I have already spoken with my legal team and they are assembled and they are prepared to fight this in the court system," Worrell said. "But as you also know, the courts have been assembled by the governor."

"I am a fighter and I intend to fight. I will not be quiet. I will not sit down," she added. "This office is just a building. I have been a public servant for my entire career, and I will continue to serve our community. I will continue to stand for democracy."

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