Governor had the right to dump Sheriff Scott Israel, judge rules | 4/4/2019 | Rafael Olmeda
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Suspended Broward Sheriff Scott Israel lost his best chance of getting his job back before the 2020 election when a judge ruled Thursday that Gov. Ron DeSantis had every legal right to remove him from office earlier this year.

Broward Circuit Judge David Haimes did not indicate whether he agreed with the governor, but he affirmed that DeSantis was legally justified when he replaced Israel with acting Sheriff Gregory Tony in January.

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“I am pleased that the court recognizes my authority as governor to suspend a public official for reasons of neglect of duty and incompetence,” DeSantis said in a news release Thursday. “Now, I will ask the Senate to move forward with the process of the formal removal of Scott Israel.

“Broward County deserves professional law enforcement leadership that will safeguard the best interests of the community and work diligently for the protection of life.”

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Israel came under criticism after the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. In suspending him, DeSantis said lessons that should have been learned from the 2017 shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport never were implemented, leading to a disorganized response in Parkland that cost lives and eroded trust in the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Israel wanted Haimes to declare that DeSantis had overstepped his authority.

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With the judge’s decision, Israel’s most likely hope of returning to office before 2020 rests with the Republican-led Florida Senate, which can overturn or affirm the Repuplican governor’s decision. Otherwise, Israel said he’ll leave it up to the county’s voters by running for re-election.

Originally proceedings involving the special master in the Senate were to take place next week, but Stuart Kaplan, one of Israel’s attorneys, said...
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