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State's high court removes judge who protested death penalty from capital-punishment cases

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published April 17, 2017 at 1:14 p.m.

pulaski-county-circuit-judge-wendell-griffen-lies-on-a-cot-outside-the-governors-mansion-during-a-protest-against-the-death-penalty-friday-griffen-who-issued-a-restraining-order-friday-in-a-lawsuit-by-the-maker-of-one-of-the-lethal-drugs-that-would-be-used-in-the-execution-of-arkansas-inmates-has-come-under-heavy-criticism-from-death-penalty-proponents-for-taking-part-in-the-protest

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen lies on a cot outside the Governor’s Mansion during a protest against the death penalty Friday. Griffen, who issued a restraining order Friday in a lawsuit by the maker of one of the lethal drugs that would be used in the execution of Arkansas inmates, has come under heavy criticism from death-penalty proponents for taking part in the protest.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has removed a judge who participated in a death-penalty protest from hearing capital punishment cases.

In an assignment order issued Monday, the state's high court said it was necessary to reassign Judge Wendell Griffen's cases and to refer him to the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to determine whether he violated judicial conduct rules.

After a medical supplier filed a complaint Friday, Griffen issued a temporary restraining order barring the state from executing condemned inmates it had planned to put to death beginning Monday. Also Friday, Griffen participated in a protest outside the Arkansas governor's mansion where he lay on a cot to mimic a condemned prisoner.

"To protect the integrity of the judicial system this court has a duty to ensure that all are given a fair and impartial tribunal," the order from the Supreme Court said. "We find it necessary to immediately reassign all cases in the Fifth Division that involve the death penalty or the state's execution protocol, whether civil or criminal."

Check back for updates and read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: State's high court removes judge who protested death penalty from capital-punishment cases

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Murphy01 says... April 17, 2017 at 1:55 p.m.

Good

( | suggest removal )

jkc78 says... April 17, 2017 at 2:09 p.m.

long overdue

( | suggest removal )

haphog says... April 17, 2017 at 2:16 p.m.

Excellent. Can he file a racial prejudice suit against the Supreme Court of Arkansas, or the 2/3 % of the population of Arkansas who want these scum eradicated??

( | suggest removal )

mrcharles says... April 17, 2017 at 2:25 p.m.

PERHAPS FEDERAL JUDGES AND scotus JUDGES WILL BE REMOVED FOR ATTENDING FEDERALIST SOCIETY MEETINGS OR IF THEY ATTEND CHURCHES, including state Judges here in red state non-thinking land would be good, about time and exceedingly called for.

WG intellectual abilities exceed you 3 . Nothing personal just true.

( | suggest removal )

Packman says... April 17, 2017 at 2:28 p.m.

Would someone fluent in Crazy kindly translate mrcharles?

( | suggest removal )

titleist10 says... April 17, 2017 at 2:35 p.m.

What does mrcharles have to say to the victims families?

( | suggest removal )

hogfan2012 says... April 17, 2017 at 2:35 p.m.

This needed to be done. Ironic how the jury is questioned long and hard about their belief in the death penalty, yet the judge who is in control of what evidence is presented by ruling on objections, etc. can be an outspoken radical against the death penalty.

( | suggest removal )

LarryBassett says... April 17, 2017 at 2:43 p.m.

mrcharless evidences a strong anti-red state (anti-Republican/conservative voter) bias along with anti-Christian participant, adherent biases. mrcharles ignores the fact that not all Christians support the death penalty and therefore exhibits a failure in logical reasoning in his argument.
Griffin's participation in an anti-death penalty protest should clearly result in a violation of judicial ethics. I thought so when his stay was announced. Good for the Arkansas Supreme Court in their removal of him from participation in any such cases. His job is to uphold the law, irrespective of personal beliefs or convictions or biases!

( | suggest removal )

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