TAMPA, Fla. — Federal Judge Robert Hinkle denied a temporary injunction for suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren Monday, but did allow his federal lawsuit against Governor Ron DeSantis to move forward on an expedited schedule.
Governor DeSantis suspended Warren from his elected office after he promised not to penalize transgender persons or gender-affirming medical care. Warren also signed a document pledging not to prosecute anyone who obtains or provides abortions.
The lawsuit alleges that DeSantis did not identify any actual conduct involving criminal activity that would warrant a suspension and said the governor is punishing Warren for voicing positions that DeSantis opposes.
Warren reiterated that point Monday after the court hearing saying, "(There's) never been a single case brought to my office about an abortion law."
"Today is an important day in an important fight for democracy—our democracy,” Warren said in a statement. “I’ve spent my career walking into court as a prosecutor, fighting for victims. Today, I went in as a plaintiff, fighting for democracy itself.”
In his executive order, DeSantis cited Warren’s policy of not pursuing some lesser categories of crime, including “trespassing at a business location, disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxication, and prostitution.”
The suspension was backed by several law enforcement officers, including Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, who said Warren had been acting as a kind of “supreme authority” to decide ”what crimes will be legal or illegal in our county.”
If Warren had been victorious with a preliminary injunction, it would have forced the governor to reinstate him to his job. Instead, the case will now move to trial.
Warren’s lawyers said they are looking forward to the Governor explaining his decision to the court as to why he believes the suspension of the State Attorney was in compliance with state and federal law.