Federal judge denies Hillsborough State Rep. Mike Beltran from assisting DeSantis with Andrew Warren suspension

The “Patriot Amicus Brief” argued that the state Constitution “required” the governor to remove Warren.

click to enlarge State Rep. Mike Beltran, R-Lithia, on the far left - Screengrab via DeSantis/Twitter
Screengrab via DeSantis/Twitter
State Rep. Mike Beltran, R-Lithia, on the far left
State Rep. Mike Beltran tried to lend some legal aid to Gov. Ron DeSantis —- a fellow Harvard Law School grad —- in a court battle with suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren.

But a federal judge said no dice.

Beltran, R-Lithia, sought permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief, known as an amicus brief, backing the governor’s suspension of the twice-elected prosecutor.

Warren’s ouster and a subsequent lawsuit have drawn national attention, and more than 100 legal scholars, retired judges and prosecutors and other people have filed briefs supporting Warren’s contention that DeSantis overstepped his authority in issuing the suspension.

Last Friday, Beltran filed a document on behalf of Tampa Bay-area attorneys, Republican Party officials and former judges asking U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle to let them weigh in on the issue and bolster DeSantis’ case.

DeSantis on Aug. 4 issued an executive order suspending Warren, a Democrat, accusing him of “incompetence and willful defiance of his duties.” DeSantis pointed to a letter Warren signed pledging to avoid enforcing a new law preventing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Also, the governor targeted a statement Warren joined condemning the criminalization of transgender people and gender-affirming care.

The “Patriot Amicus Brief” argued that the state Constitution “required” the governor to remove Warren.

“Warren’s official performance frustrates local law enforcement, endangers the public and easily justifies suspension,” the Republicans argued. “If Warren wishes to legislate instead of prosecute, he should have run for another office. Stated differently, Warren should consider a run for the Florida House, instead of shirking his duties at the Hillsborough courthouse.”

Paul Hawkes, a former state House member and 1st District Court of Appeal judge who resigned from the bench after a controversy about his role in the construction of a lavish Tallahassee appellate courthouse, co-authored the brief.

But Hinkle this week gave the brief a thumbs down, noting that arguments in the case are scheduled for Monday and scolding the DeSantis supporters’ attempt.

“The brief comes too late,” the judge wrote. “And it consists largely of inadmissible hearsay accounts of irrelevant events. This is not an open forum for nonparties to tender inadmissible evidence.”
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