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Israel's bid to regain Broward Sheriff's Office headed to state Supreme Court

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended sheriff in January

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Scott Israel's legal battle against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to be reinstated as Broward County sheriff is headed to the state Supreme Court.

In documents filed with the court Saturday, Israel's legal team requested oral arguments before the state's top court. 

"This appeal presents important questions of Florida constitutional law, due process considerations, timely public policy questions and the extent to which the governor can subvert the will of the voter when determining their choice of elected leaders," Israel's lawyers wrote.

The request comes days after Judge David Haimes ruled in favor of DeSantis in circuit court. The 4th District Court of Appeal, typically the next stop for the case, ruled it should move directly to the Supreme Court because it deemed the case "of great public importance."

DeSantis, a Republican, removed Israel, 62, from office in January, citing neglect of duty and incompetence. DeSantis criticized Israel's handling of last year's Parkland school shooting and the mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in 2017. 

Israel, a Democrat, was elected sheriff in 2012 after serving decades with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Israel has said his suspension was politically motivated.

DeSantis' executive order came after an independent panel created to investigate the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School found that Broward County deputies failed to engage gunman Nikolas Cruz and were not properly trained.

Former Coral Springs police Officer Gregory Tony was named as Israel's replacement. Both Israel and Tony plan to run for sheriff when the current term is up in 2020.

Israel is also appealing to the Florida Legislature for reinstatement. The Florida Senate will review Israel's case once this lawsuit is resolved.