Free speech at issue in Florida governor’s suspension of state attorney

A federal district judge failed to reinstate a state attorney suspended by Governor Ron De Santis but seemed inclined to favor the argument that Andrew Warren was denied his free speech rights. Warren had signed statements pledging not to prosecute cases of abortion or transgender health care. The judge said the statements were not official actions so protected by the First Amendment. The judge wants a speedy trial to settle the matter. (Tampa Bay Times, September 29, 2022, by Dan Sullivan)

De Santis’ lawyer argued that refusing to prosecute certain crimes was not protected speech. The question centered on whether Warren’s signing the statements was protected free speech or setting policy for his office. (Miami Herald, September 19, 2022, by Lawrence Mower and Sue Carlton)