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DeSantis Suspends Second Elected Prosecutor in Florida


Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida suspended the top state prosecutor in Orlando on Wednesday, accusing her of incompetence and neglect of duty for what he characterized as lenience against violent criminals.

Mr. DeSantis suspended Monique H. Worrell, the elected state attorney of Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit, which includes Orange and Osceola counties, and cited her handling of three cases. One involved a man who shot and injured two Orlando police officers over the weekend.

It is the second time in a year that Mr. DeSantis, a Republican running for president, has taken the drastic and exceedingly rare step of removing an elected state attorney. Both have been Democrats.

Mr. DeSantis was heavily criticized in August 2022 when he removed Andrew H. Warren, the top prosecutor in Tampa, who had signed a statement along with 90 other elected prosecutors across the country vowing not to prosecute people who seek or provide abortions. Critics, and even a federal judge, decried Mr. DeSantis’s ouster of Mr. Warren as politically motivated. But Mr. Warren remains out of office — and Mr. DeSantis mentions his removal in just about every campaign stump speech.

Ms. Worrell was known to be in Mr. DeSantis’s sights. He criticized her office earlier this year, and his general counsel sent her a letter seeking documents about previous arrests.

In March, anticipating that she might be suspended, Ms. Worrell released data showing that her prosecution rate was similar to that of her predecessors.

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