FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 10, 2023
Media Contact: Blake Summerlin - League of Women Voters of Florida: (772) 217-0772; firstname.lastname@example.org
League of Women Voters Response to Gov. DeSantis Suspension of State Attorney Monique Worrell
ORLANDO, Fla. – The League of Women Voters of Florida and the League of Women Voters of Orange County express strong condemnation of the suspension of democratically elected Orange and Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell.
“Removing State Attorney Worrell and in turn subverting the will of voters in Orange and Osceola counties is a deeply troubling violation of the principles of democracy and undermines the very essence of our representative governance,” said Tiffany Hughes, president of the League of Women Voters of Orange County. “Removal of an elected official through means that disregards democratic processes is a grave concern for the integrity of our democracy.”
“This action highlights a troubling practice of removal of officials who hold differing views from the Governor. We now see a pattern of attacking top prosecutors who make decisions on cases to bring to court and cases handled outside of the court system. This is a direct threat to the prosecutorial discretion that is given to every state attorney and silences the voices of hundreds of thousands of Florida’s citizens.” said Cecile M. Scoon, Esq., co-president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “Such actions send a chilling message to public servants and elected representatives alike – that disagreement, critique, or alternative perspectives will not be tolerated. The League believes that democracy thrives on diverse opinions and ideas. By targeting and removing officials who do not conform to a particular political viewpoint, we run the risk of Florida harkening back to the authoritarian actions of a monarchy.”
“This latest suspension is yet another direct attack on the ability of Floridians to make their voices heard at the ballot box,” said Debbie Chandler, Esq., co-president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “This is not a partisan issue, it is an issue of whether we believe in the rule of law and the constitution or we believe that one politician should have the ability to rule over our state with an iron fist.”
In December of 2022, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle clearly articulated in regard to the suspension of Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren that "Florida law does not allow a governor to remove a state attorney because the governor disagrees with a state attorney's general approach." Yet another instance of politically motivated removals raises concerns for the League and other civically-minded organizations on the integrity of the legal and procedural mechanisms in place in Florida.
The League of Women Voters of Florida and the League of Women Voters of Orange County encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.