DeSantis confident Senate hearing on Israel can be held before session ends

Suspended Broward County sheriff wants time to mount defense

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Michael Putney - Senior Political Reporter

MIAMI - Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he will ask the Florida Senate to conduct its hearing for suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel before the end of session.

DeSantis, who was in Miami to announce the appointment of two Miami-Dade County judges to open seats on the Third District Court of Appeal, told Local 10 News senior political reporter Michael Putney that he'll speak with Senate President Bill Galvano about expediting the hearing to avoid a special session.

The governor's announcement comes two days after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that DeSantis acted within his authority to suspend Israel.

"He absolutely deserves a hearing and he deserves all the process that's afforded under the Constitution," DeSantis said. "But I think we need to make a judgement here and let folks be held accountable for their votes."

Citing "neglect of duty and incompetence," DeSantis suspended Israel shortly after taking office in January and appointed former Coral Springs police Sgt. Gregory Tony to the position.

Israel's attorneys argued that the governor's move was an "executive power grab" and that DeSantis overstepped his constitutional authority.

"Gov. DeSantis isn't going to decide who the sheriff of Broward will be," Israel told Putney. "The voters of Broward will, and I will run on our record."

Although DeSantis seems confident the hearing will take place before the close of session May 3, Israel intimated otherwise.

"This is about being treated fairly (and) within the parameters of the law," Israel said. "We expect to have time to depose witnesses and present testimony."

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