Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suspended Democratic State Attorney Monique Worrell on Wednesday for an alleged “neglect of duty.”
“The state of Florida is a law-and-order state and that means we support the men and women who wear the uniform, who protect and serve. It means we have strong policies to hold criminals accountable for their misconduct,” DeSantis said at a press briefing. “Prosecutors have a duty to faithfully enforce the law. One’s political agenda cannot trump this solemn duty, refusing to faithfully enforce the laws of Florida puts our communities in danger and victimizes innocent Floridians.”
“Accordingly, I am today announcing the suspension of State Attorney Monique Worrell from the Ninth Judicial Circuit effective immediately. I’m appointing Judge Andrew Bain to take over a state attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit,” he added.
Worrell was elected to serve as the state attorney for Florida’s Ninth Judicial District in 2020, and was running for reelection in 2024. DeSantis said that Worrell’s “administration of criminal justice in the Ninth Circuit has been clearly and fundamentally derelict so as to constitute both neglect of duty and incompetence.”
“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 said.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) cited an incident from over the weekend that left two Orlando police shot as an example of her accused dereliction of duties during the press conference. She said Worrell had not filed motion for pretrial detention for the shooting suspect, who was awaiting trial for the alleged rape of a girl, according to court records.
“We are fortunate to have a Governor committed to the rule of law and holding officials — especially those elected to protect the public — accountable for not doing the jobs they swore an oath to do,” Moody said in a statement. “Ms. Worrell abdicated her responsibility as the circuit’s top prosecutor and her actions undermine the safety and security of our state and Floridians.”
This is not the first time DeSantis has suspended a state attorney. Last year, he suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren for “neglect of duty” after the prosecutor refused to enforce bans on abortion and transgender surgeries.
The Hill has reached out to Worrell’s campaign for comment.