DeSantis suspends elected Florida state attorney Monique Worrell, accusing her of being soft on crime

Florida Ninth Judicial District State Attorney Monique Worrell is suspended as of Wednesday morning via an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday suspended Monique Worrell, the state attorney for Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit, accusing her of under-prosecuting criminals in her jurisdiction.

Worrell, a Democratic elected official who took office in 2021, has been “clearly and fundamentally derelict” in her duties, the Republican governor claimed at a press conference in Tallahassee.

An executive order signed by DeSantis and Secretary of State Cord Byrd accused Worrell of “systematically” allowing criminals to evade incarceration, either by dropping charges or declining to allege provable facts.

Her actions constitute “both neglect of duty and incompetence,” according to the executive order.

DeSantis acknowledged that prosecutors like Worrell “do have a certain amount of discretion about which cases to bring and which not.”

But Worrell has “abused that discretion,” he said.

Worrell’s suspension is effective immediately, with Orlando Judge Andrew Bain appointed to replace her.

It’s the second time as governor that DeSantis has taken executive action against an elected state attorney over accusations of being soft on crime.

DeSantis last year suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren after Warren said he would not enforce state restrictions on abortion or gender-related surgery. A federal judge affirmed the suspension, but said DeSantis had violated the attorney’s free speech rights.

DeSantis on Wednesday expressed confidence that his latest action was legal.

The surprise move to dismiss an elected state official came as DeSantis struggles to gain ground in the Republican presidential primary.

Once seen as a major contender to former President Donald Trump, DeSantis has appeared to slide in national polls of the race.

His campaign, which is still less than three months old, has fired dozens of staffers in recent weeks. On Tuesday, he replaced his campaign manager with his gubernatorial chief of staff.

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