OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has given the ax to another state official.
Jose Angel Martinez, Miami-Dade County Commissioner-District 11, was terminated by the governor after he was arrested on August 11, “for felony charges of unlawful compensation for official behavior … and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation,” second and third-degree felonies, the governor’s office said.
“Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 22-215 (Executive Order of Suspension), suspending Jose Angel Martinez from his position as County Commissioner for Miami-Dade County, District 11,” the governor’s office said on its website.
“On August 30, 2022, an Information was issued against Martinez for felony charges of unlawful compensation for official behavior, in violation of section 838. 016(1), Florida Statutes, and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation, in violation of section 838.016 and section 777. 04(3), Florida Statutes. These violations constitute felonies in the second and third degree, and it is in the best interest of the residents of Miami-Dade County that Martinez be immediately suspended from the public office that he holds. The Governor will appoint a commissioner to fill the District 11 seat in the coming weeks,” it said.
This comes after Gov. DeSantis fired a district attorney who a federal court recently declined to reinstate.
U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle on Monday declined to reinstate Andrew Warren as his case against the Republican Florida governor continues, The Associated Press reported.
The former state attorney said that his firing violated his free speech and that the governor exceeded his authority.
“Mr. Warren is an elected official and his speech is protected by the first amendment,” Warren’s attorney said at a press conference after the hearing.
That is a curious argument. Would it apply to a police officer who decided he or she did not want to arrest people for certain crimes that they deemed top be not important?
The lawsuit asks that Warren be reinstated, and that Gov. DeSantis be prohibited from taking similar action against him in the future.
“We look forward to a trial where the governor can come in and explain to the court why he thinks what he did is in compliance with federal law and state law,” the suspended attorney said.
“The judge is clearly and rightfully so interested in what the governor would say in a judicial forum and the trial would be that opportunity,” his attorney said.
The trial is set to take place in four – 12 weeks.
The office of Gov. DeSantis was also pleased with the judge’s decision.
“We are pleased that the court denied Andrew Warren’s request for a preliminary injunction. The Governor is entrusted by the people of Florida to utilize his constitutional powers and may suspend elected officials in Florida who refuse to enforce the law,” it said.
In August, it was reported that DeSantis sent law enforcement officials to remove State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit, who is backed by George Soros, from office.
“State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” DeSantis said in a statement. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida. I have the utmost trust that Judge Susan Lopez will lead the office through this transition and faithfully uphold the rule of law.”
DeSantis ordered, “As of the signing of this Executive Order, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by other law enforcement agencies as necessary, is requested to: (i) assist in the immediate transition of Andrew Warren from the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit of Florida, with access only to retrieve his personal belongings; and (ii) ensure that no files, papers, documents, notes, records, computers, or removable storage media are removed from the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit of Florida by Andrew Warren or any of his staff.”
The governor suspended state attorney Andrew Warren after he vowed not to charge abortion patients or the doctors who illegally perform the procedure to terminate a pregnancy. Warren made the pledge in June just days ahead of a state law barring the procedure after 15 weeks was to go into effect, the outlet added.
“We had the individual here from Hillsborough County say and signed letters that there are certain laws he just won’t enforce and won’t prosecute,” DeSantis told Fox News exclusively following a press conference in which he announced Warren’s suspension.
“States attorneys that put their ideology over the rule of law are not satisfying their oath of office,” said DeSantis, himself a Harvard-education lawyer and Yale graduate who served as a judge advocate in the U.S. Navy and an assistant U.S. Attorney.