Media Contact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 6, 2023
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

December 6, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This morning, the Florida Supreme Court heard arguments challenging the constitutionality of Governor DeSantis’ politically motivated suspension of State Attorney Monique Worrell, the elected State Attorney for Orange-Osceola counties. The Governor has accused the State Attorney of neglecting her duty concerning sentencing recommendations, which fall squarely within the State Attorney's prosecutorial discretion.

Elected with 66% support of her constituents in 2020, State Attorney Worrell served Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit Court. At the time of her suspension, she was the only Black woman serving as a state prosecutor in Florida. Last year, the Governor indefinitely suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren after he spoke out against the Governor’s attacks on reproductive and gender-affirming health care. A federal judge indicated that the Governor’s suspension of State Attorney Warren was unconstitutional.

Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel at the ACLU of Florida responded with the following:

“A supermajority of Floridians in the Ninth Judicial Circuit elected State Attorney Monique Worrell as their Chief Prosecutor. Governor DeSantis’ baseless and politically motivated suspension of a duly elected State Attorney undermines our democratic system, disenfranchises voters, and makes a mockery out of our elections. Sixty-six percent of the voters in Orange and Osceola Counties voted to elect State Attorney Worrell: the Governor’s suspension, in one fell swoop, overturned the will of approximately 400,000 people who elected her.

“This isn’t the first time Governor DeSantis has removed elected officials for politically motivated, unjustified reasons. Last year, the Governor overturned the will of the people in Hillsborough County when he ousted State Attorney Warren.

“DeSantis’ unconstitutional actions show that there’s nothing he won’t do to silence his critics and instill his will on the people, regardless of what the people want or how they voted. Which counties are next? Which elected officials will he go after now?

“Ousting elected officials by the Governor because he disagrees with their leadership and installing hand-picked individuals to take over their job responsibilities is what happens in authoritarian regimes, not democratic nations. In a democracy, leaders should not be allowed to set aside the result of a democratic election and remove elected officials they disagree with.”