Florida Supreme Court upholds DeSantis' decision to suspend Israel

Governor says suspended sheriff 'failed in his duties'

The Florida Senate will have the final say in whether Gov. Ron DeSantis was justified in suspending Sheriff Scott Israel.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis acted within his authority in suspending former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel. 

The justices rejected Israel's appeal of his removal, but set up the Florida State Senate to step in when they noted "the Constitution itself has set up its own special court to try the matter, namely the state Senate." 

Florida's high court also ruled that during a review by the Senate the official must be allowed "to mount a defense."

DeSantis suspended Israel in January, shortly after taking office, and appointed former Coral Springs police Sgt. Gregory Tony to the position.

The governor's executive order detailed how Israel "egregiously failed in his duties as sheriff" during the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people.

DeSantis released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying, the opinion leaves no doubt of his authority as governor to suspend a government official for neglect of duty and incompetence. 

"Israel failed in his duties to protect the families and students of Broward County and the time for delay tactics is at an end," DeSantis said. "I look forward to the Florida Senate resuming the process of formal removal."

Israel alleges DeSantis interfered with Broward County voters' right to elect a sheriff with his order. He questioned DeSantis' constitutional authority in a March 7 petition that was dismissed April 4. He appealed the order a day later. 

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.