TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis exceeded his authority when he eliminated a Democratic prosecutor from her elected workplace after a youngster fatally shot a lady and a information reporter, her legal professional informed the Supreme Court docket on Wednesday.

The state structure solely permits for the suspension of an elected official for egregious misconduct, and Monique Worrell was simply doing her job as she sees fit — not something unlawful or negligent — when DeSantis suspended her, mentioned her lawyer, Laura Ferguson.

“It’s the voters, not the governor, to whom Ms. Worrell is accountable,” Ferguson mentioned.

However an legal professional for DeSantis mentioned Worrell’s historical past of failing to prosecute crimes dedicated by minors and in not searching for obligatory minimal sentences for gun crimes put the general public at risk in her central Florida district. Statistics present that Orlando and the encircling space had been grossly underperforming in contrast with different prosecutorial districts within the state, lawyer Jeffrey DeSousa mentioned.

If “it simply turned out that Ms. Worrell was not simply very efficient at prosecuting crime, and the info I believe does show that … I’d suppose that may be sufficient. Now observe and insurance policies make that even stronger,” DeSousa mentioned.

DeSantis’ workplace started investigating Worrell earlier this 12 months after 19-year-old Keith Moses was charged with first-degree homicide within the deaths of Spectrum Information 13 reporter Dylan Lyons, Nathacha Augustin and 9-year-old T’yonna Major. The woman’s mom and Spectrum Information 13 photographer Jesse Walden had been additionally shot.

Shortly after the capturing, DeSantis’ normal counsel mentioned in a letter to Worrell that she had beforehand failed to carry Moses accountable for crimes he allegedly dedicated earlier than the deaths. The letter famous that Moses was arrested throughout a site visitors cease in November 2021 for hashish possession. Based on a police report, a deputy witnessed a gun being thrown out of the automotive window because it was being pulled over. The three occupants had ski masks and previous firearm costs, together with Moses, who was on juvenile felony probation.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Workplace deputy charged Moses with a drug offense and never a firearm offense. The case was dismissed the next month after prosecutors concluded it wasn’t appropriate to pursue.

DeSantis is considered one of a number of Republicans in varied jurisdictions throughout the U.S. who’ve referred to as into query selections from Democratic prosecutors.

DeSantis final 12 months eliminated State Legal professional Andrew Warren, a twice-elected Democrat in Tampa, after he pledged to not pursue legal costs in opposition to seekers or suppliers of abortion or gender-transition remedies. He additionally had a coverage of not bringing costs in opposition to individuals for sure low-level crimes.

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