Gov. Charlie Crist just issued a new executive order to re-suspend Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, whom he suspended from office after she was charged in a corruption probe.
Crist immediately suspended the popular commissioner after state prosecutors arrested her in November for allegedly redirecting $50,000 in county money to a family business, before she won her first election. She denies wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.
Spence-Jones then cruised to victory in a special election Tuesday. Comparing herself to Martin Luther King. Jr., warned Crist not to thwart the will of the people by suspending her again.
But Crist said that the state Constitution emplowers him to suspend a city commissioner who has been criminally charged. And a separate state law gives him even more broad powers to suspend her. Neither law bans him from re-suspending a commissioner who has won re-election.
The Constitution also says that the suspension shall end if the politician is acquitted, had the charges dropped or been found not guilty. Crist said that hasn't happened.
"Michelle Spence-Jones has not been found acquitted, found not guilty, or otherwise cleared of the charge which was the basis of her arrest," Crist said in the order.
"It is in the best interests of the residents of the City of Miami, and the citizens of the State of Florida, that Michelle Spence-Jones be immediately suspended from public office."
Crist's executive order says that, upon being sworn back into office, she'll be suspended again.
Legal experts are split on Crist's decision. More here
Executive order: Download Spence-Jones Suspension 20101