TIMELINE: Gov. Ron DeSantis suspends Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell

ORLANDO, Fla. — Citing a neglect of duty, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday morning that he was suspending Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Monique Worrell effective immediately. Read live updates below:



11 p.m. update

Now that the dust has settled, what’s next for Monique Worrell? See the full story in the video below:

9:30 p.m. update

Worrell during a Zoom conference called her suspension “a travesty of justice, and we should all be concerned about democracy.”

“We should all be concerned that the governor is using his authority in this way,” she said during the Zoom meeting late Wednesday. “It really is an overreach and Florida has become a dictatorship, and there is no democracy here.”

Worrell said her office processed 55,000 cases.

“There are multiple entities that make up the criminal legal system,” Worrell said, “Yet anytime anything goes wrong, they say it’s the State Attorney.”

8:20 p.m. update

Worrell plans to speak at 9 p.m. Watch it LIVE here.

7:30 p.m. update

Wednesday’s suspension came as no surprise to Worrell.

There have been months of back and forth between DeSantis and Worrell over several high-profile cases, including the murder of three people in Pine Hills and the subsequent arrest of suspect Keith Moses.

Worrell said as early as March that she expected DeSantis to remove her from office.

Read: Worrell’s opponent in 2020 election weighs in on her suspension

DeSantis made the move Wednesday, after months of law enforcement officials slamming Worrell for allowing repeat offenders back on the streets.

“One’s political agenda cannot trump this solemn duty,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said during a news conference Wednesday. “Refusing to faithfully enforce the laws of Florida puts our communities in danger and victimizes innocent Floridians.”

For months, Worrell defended her record in the wake of high-profile crimes in her jurisdiction, including the February shooting deaths of three people in Pine Hills, which included that of Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons, 24. That also included Friday’s shooting of two Orlando police officers in downtown.

Read: Andrew Bain: Who is the state attorney appointed to replace Monique Worrell?

On April 27, letters were sent to law enforcement agencies including the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, ordering them to turn over three years’ worth of records on arrests and the outcomes of those cases.

DeSantis’ lawyers were asking for the number of arrests for drug trafficking, violent felonies and felons with firearms.

The response showed that the majority of cases pleaded, dropped or were still pending.

That information compiled from the Sheriff’s Office and multiple other agencies was factored into DeSantis’ executive order.

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4 p.m. update

Monique Worrell spoke out strongly against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who suspended her as the Ninth Judicial Circuit state attorney hours earlier.

Worrell repeatedly described the governor’s decision as “political gamesmanship” and “political shenanigans.”

Read: ‘It is the loss of democracy’: Monique Worrell responds to her suspension as state attorney

“I am your duly elected state attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, and nothing done by a weak dictator can change that,” she said. “This is an outrage.”

Click here to read about what she plans to do next, and watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live, in-depth team coverage.

3 p.m. update

Elected officials and law enforcement officials from across Central Florida have provided Channel 9 with statements about the governor’s decision to suspend Worrell.

Click here to read their reaction.

Read: Central Florida reacts to DeSantis’ suspension of Monique Worrell: Hear from local officials

12 p.m. update

Channel 9′s team of reporters is covering all angles of DeSantis’ suspension of Monique Worrell from office.

Special live coverage begins right now on Channel 9 Eyewitness News at Noon. Click here to stream it live.

Photos: Monique Worrell through the years

11:15 a.m. update

Channel 9 has obtained a copy of an email sent by newly appointed Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Andrew Bain to office staff. Read it below:

Read: Andrew Bain: Who is the state attorney appointed to replace Monique Worrell?

“Dear Team,

Today was as unexpected to me as it has been for you, but I’m happy to be home again. I want to ask you for your patience as I evaluate the needs of our office. Effective as of this morning, you are authorized to continue exercising your duties under my authority as State Attorney. With your help, I have full confidence in a successful transition. First, I want to ask for patience as I evaluate the needs of our office. There will be many changes in the months ahead, and I will be seeking input regarding those changes from many of you. These changes are being made to enhance the safety of our communities and increase the productivity of the office. My goals as State Attorney are to restore law and order, public trust, and relationships with local law enforcement.

To achieve these goals, effective immediately, I am rescinding the catch and release policy that has been in place for far too long. We must return to the principle of prosecutorial discretion, one that relies on a thorough analysis of each case’s facts and the laws of Florida. It does our community no good to prosecute a case without intent to stop illegal activity or at minimum, place the defendant on a path to not reoffend.

Additionally, until I evaluate their effectiveness, I am immediately suspending all state attorney created diversion programs other than pretrial diversion through state or county probation. I encourage you all to use the community problem solving courts, including drug court, mental health court, and veterans court, when contemplating case resolutions.

Our job is to hold those that violate the law accountable for their actions according to law. We are not here to judge them as evil, but to prosecute their choices and administer justice. I will advocate on your behalf to our legislative leaders to provide robust tools to better handle our cases, however we must continue to do our best to protect and prevent further harm to our community.

By being balanced, fair, and just, the 9th Judicial Circuit will have and train the very best prosecutors in Florida. Greatness only comes through practice and hard work, and I am honored to lead this office to achieve that goal. My door will always be open to any of you and our conversations will remain privileged and confidential unless you indicate otherwise.

Thank you for your ongoing professionalism and service during this transition. I am confident the team will rise to the occasion. We will be prosecutors that partner with local law enforcement, advocate for victims, and never put ourselves above the law.

I look forward to working with you all.


Andrew Bain

State Attorney Ninth Judicial Circuit”

11 a.m. update

Former State Attorney Monique Worrell is about to begin her news conference outside the Orange County Courthouse.

Watch it live on Channel 9 and by clicking here.


10:05 a.m. update

Former State Attorney Monique Worrell will hold a live news conference at 11 a.m. at the Orange County Courthouse. Watch it live on Channel 9 and by clicking here once it begins.

Channel 9 has begun to receive reaction to Worrell’s suspension from local elected officials.

Watch: State Attorney Monique Worrell discusses Daton Viel’s criminal history

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s office provided Channel 9 with the following statement about Worrell’s suspension Wednesday morning:

“As a city, public safety is our top priority and we remain committed to that. We will continue to work with the State Attorney’s Office, regardless of who is in that office, to bring cases forward to hold criminals responsible and keep our community safe.”

9:45 a.m. update

Read Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ full, 40-page executive order of suspension below and scroll below for previous updates:

Earlier story

Flanked by State Attorney Ashley Moody, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis described Worrell’s administration as “clearly and fundamentally derelict, constituting neglect of duty and incompetence.”

“It is my duty as Governor to ensure that the laws enacted by our duly elected Legislature are followed,” DeSantis said. “The people of Central Florida deserve to have a State Attorney who will seek justice in accordance with the law instead of allowing violent criminals to roam the streets and find new victims.”

Read: Former Kissimmee commissioner, county commission candidate sentenced for campaign finance violations

Ninth Circuit Judge Andrew Bain will be appointed to take over as Orange-Osceola County State Attorney during the suspension, DeSantis announced.

Channel 9 has reached out to Worrell’s office for a response. She was initially elected to the State Attorney’s office in 2020

We have multiple reporters following this story. Please stay with Channel 9 Eyewitness News and download our free app to receive updates as more information comes into our newsroom.

Read: Orange County teacher weighs in on new rules surrounding nicknames, pronouns

Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.