Monique Worrell suspension upheld, calls Florida Supreme Court decision 'rubber-stamped ... political stunt'

'They took the easy way out,' says suspended Orange County State Attorney Monique Worrell in statement
Posted at 9:56 AM, Jun 07, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A suspended state attorney remains out of a job after the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 6-1 against Monique Worrell.

The Central Florida prosecutor was trying to return to her seat after Gov. Ron DeSantis ousted the Democrat for "dereliction of duty."

Worrell took her case challenging the removal before justices last December. With the exception of Justice Jorge Labarga, the majority upheld Gov. Ron DeSantis' suspension, saying that the Republican governor's executive order was fair.

"We cannot agree with Worrell that the allegations in the Executive Order are impermissibly vague, nor that they address conduct that falls within the lawful exercise of prosecutorial discretion," said the opinion.

DeSantis first announced the removal during this press conference last August. He alleged Worrell was too soft on crime— listing examples in his order and alleging "neglect of duty."

"Refusing to faithfully enforce the laws of Florida puts our communities in danger and victimizes innocent Floridians," DeSantis said at the summer presser. "Prosecutors have a duty to faithfully enforce the law."

In a Thursday statement, Worrell responded to the ruling saying the court "rubber-stamped a political stunt."

"The governor appointed most of the justices on Florida's Supreme Court," said Worrell. "They took the easy way out by refusing to examine whether the governor's claims had any factual basis."

Worrell is in the middle of a reelection bid for her former Orange County seat. When we last spoke in December, she vowed to maintain her prosecutorial discretion if returned to office. Meanwhile, Worrell's supporters think the Thursday decision will only enhance the stakes.

"I think, it sends a clear message to voters that the decision is ultimately on them," said Genesis Robinson, the intern director at Equal Ground Florida. "Right? If they wanna see Monique Worrell return to being their duly-elected state attorney, then they have a responsibility to ensure that they reflect that in November when it's time to vote."

If this case sounds familiar — you're not wrong. DeSantis also ousted another Democratic state attorney back in 2022. And like Worrell, after failing to get relief from the courts, Andrew Warren is trying to return to his Hillsborough post this November.