TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis has suspended State Attorney Monique Worrell from the Ninth Judicial Circuit, which serves Orange and Osceola counties.
DeSantis says in his executive order that he believes Worrell's office has a pattern or practice of the following:
- Avoiding minimum or maximum sentences for gun crimes
- Avoid minimum or maximum sentences for drug trafficking offenses
- Avoid minimum or maximum sentences for juvenile offenders to avoid serious charges and incarceration altogether
- Avoiding valid sentencing enhancements
- Avoiding limiting charges for child porn.
"I am appointing Judge Andrew Bain to step in and take over the duties of the State Attorney’s Office in the 9th Circuit. The people of Central Florida deserve a State Attorney that will prosecute criminals and keep our communities safe."
During his press conference in Tallahassee, DeSantis said Worrell abused her discretion and power and nullified certain state laws. DeSantis pointed out specific instances in which he believes the state did not hold criminals accountable for their actions.
The most recent example involves the shooting of two Orlando Police Officers, allegedly by Dayton Viel. Veil was arrested in March of 2023 for sexual battery of a minor which happened while on probation for another offense.
"Under the rules of criminal procedure and the statutes of Florida in order for a dangerous criminal to be detained pre-trial a State's Attorney must file a motion for pre-trial detention. That was never done."
According to data provided by the State Court Administrative website's, between 2021-2022 Worrell dismissed or did not prosecute 16,236 defendants.
Attorney General Ashley Moody says Worrell has dismissed more defendants than any other State Attorney in the state between 2021-2022. She says Worrell dismissed four times the number of defendants than the state attorney did in Palm Beach County.
Moody also claims Worrell dismissed or did not file against 43% of defendants when they are arrested.
According to DeSantis, the suspension will take effect immediately.