Broward Circuit Judge David A. Haimes dismissed former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel’s case against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which had accused him of overstepping his bounds by suspending Israel via executive order.
DeSantis suspended and later fired Israel for incompetence and neglect of duty over alleged police failings surrounding the deadly 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
But court filings suggest the ouster was a political move against Israel, who has strong support among Democrats, by a Republican governor overstepping his authority.
Without weighing in on the merits of the case, Haimes ruled Thursday that the court lacked jurisdiction.
Read the full court order:
“This is consistent with the Florida Constitution and general principles of separation of powers, which grant the governor the authority to suspend an official, and grant the Florida Senate that exclusive authority to review the suspension and decide whether to remove or reinstate the official,” Haimes wrote.
Israel’s lawyer Benedict P. Kuehne of Kuehne Davis Law said his client was disappointed and will appeal.
“While we value Judge Haimes’ studied decision, the constitutionality of Sheriff Israel’s suspension will be tested in Florida’s appellate courts,” Keuhne said. “The governor’s overreach of the limited suspension authority has never before been used to replace a political opponent at the urging of the National Rifle Association.”
Keuhne argues DeSantis’ disagreement with Israel was not a basis to remove him from office.
“Only the voters of Broward County, who overwhelmingly elected Scott Israel as sheriff, should have the authority to decide who is their elected Sheriff,” he said.
Gov. DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.