Broward County

Judge Dismisses Scott Israel's Bid to Challenge Suspension

A Broward circuit judge on Thursday granted Gov. Ron DeSantis’ motion to dismiss a court challenge to his suspension of Scott Israel as Broward County sheriff.

Circuit Judge David Haimes wrote his review was limited to answering one question: "Whether the order names one or more grounds set forth in the (state) Constitution and is supported with alleged facts sufficient to constitute the grounds named for the suspension?"

DeSantis named both neglect of duty and incompetence as grounds, and listed what he calls several deficiencies in the sheriff’s office under Israel.

In accusing Israel of failing in his role as "conservator of the peace," DeSantis cited two active shooter situations: the Feb. 14, 2018 killing of 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high and the killing of five at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6, 2017.

The judge noted DeSantis said Israel failed in "his responsibility for developing, implementing, and training his deputies on policy related to active shooters."

"The court’s role is not to assess the merits of the allegations," Haimes wrote in his seven-page order.

That will now fall to the state Senate, which has appointed a special master to review the argument son both sides and recommend to the full senate whether to remove Israel permanently or reinstate him to office.

Israel, though, could appeal Thursday’s ruling.

Senate president Bill Galvano said the Senate is sending a letter to Israel’s attorney to see if they are going to appeal, as one of them has indicated they would.

The Senate’s role will remain on hold, Galvano told his colleagues in an email, "until all appeals are exhausted or have been definitively taken off the table."

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