Former Broward Sherriff Scott Israel lost his battle at the Florida Supreme Court today. The court ruled that Governor DeSantis had the authority to suspend him based on Article 4 of the State Constitution. The full conclusion quoted below states it "established a clear and unambiguous process for suspension and removal."
Israel can still fight the suspension through the Florida State Senate, which has the power to overrule or overturn the Governor's decisions.
The Constitution establishes a clear and unambiguous process for suspension and removal. The Governor may suspend for one or more of the grounds enumerated in article IV, section 7(a), and the Senate may remove or reinstate the officer pursuant to article IV, section 7(b). The Constitution reserves to the Senate the sole responsibility for reviewing the evidence supporting the Governor’s executive order of suspension, and it is the constitutional role of the Senate to consider whether the suspended officer merits removal or reinstatement. Where the suspended officer falls within one of the constitutionally enumerated categories and the Governor has filed the executive order of suspension with the state custodian of records, the judiciary’s sole role in this process is limited to a facial review of the executive order of suspension to determine whether it contains allegations that bear some reasonable relation to the charge made against the officer. This is “due entirely to the fact that the Constitution itself has set up its own special court to try the matter, namely the state Senate.” Hardie, 155 So. at 136 (Davis, C.J., concurring).
Accordingly, we find that the Governor has satisfied the constitutional requirements set forth in article IV, section 7(a) of the Constitution and has the authority to suspend Israel from the office of Sheriff of Broward County. We therefore affirm the circuit court’s order denying Israel’s petition for writ of quo warranto.
It is so ordered.