Judge Tosses Lawsuit Challenging Worrell’s Suspension

Suspended Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell gives an update on her challenge to be reinstated at a news conference in Orlando on Nov. 15, 2023. RICH POPE/ ORLANDO SENTINEL/TNS

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit in which two voters and the group Florida Rising Together challenged Gov. Ron DeSantis’ suspension of Orlando-area State Attorney Monique Worrell.

U.S. District Judge Julie Sneed issued a 15-page ruling that said plaintiffs David Caicedo and Rajib Chowdhury and Florida Rising Together did not have legal standing to pursue the lawsuit.

“Upon consideration, the court finds that plaintiffs failed to allege an invasion of a legally protected interest in defendant’s (DeSantis’) removal of Ms. Worrell from her position pursuant to the Florida Constitution,” Sneed wrote. “Instead, plaintiffs’ injury appears to be largely derivative of Ms. Worrell’s own injury in being removed before the conclusion of her term for alleged partisan reasons.”

Among other things, the order alleged that Worrell’s policies prevented or discouraged assistant state attorneys from seeking minimum mandatory sentences for gun crimes and drug trafficking offenses.

Attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit Nov. 30 on behalf of Caicedo, Chowdhury and Florida Rising Together, alleging that the suspension violated due-process and First Amendment rights. It sought reinstatement of Worrell as state attorney.

“Governor DeSantis’ intentional nullification of election results has undermined the fundamental fairness and integrity of the electoral process,” the lawsuit said. “The nature of the injury in this case is egregious. … Governor DeSantis’ actions deprived nearly 400,000 people of their fundamental right to vote and threatens the integrity of the state’s democratic system.”

While dismissing the case, Sneed said the plaintiffs could file an amended complaint within 30 days.

DeSantis appointed Andrew Bain, who had served as an Orange County judge, to replace Worrell as state attorney. Worrell is again running for the position in the November election.



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *