At least two lawmakers are calling for the removal of a Pulaski County judge after he publicly protested against the death penalty for the second time.
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen again lay motionless as he strapped himself to a cot Tuesday evening outside the Governor’s Mansion.
In a statement, state Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, called the protest a “pathetic and depressing display.”
“He has disgraced the office that he holds for years and now is using a desperate, attention seeking move to further bring shame on himself,” Garner wrote.
State Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville, agreed in a Wednesday morning post on Twitter.
“It is time for #ARLeg to move to impeach Judge Wendell Griffen. Our justice system must be fair and impartial, and is no place for activism,” Ballinger said.
House Speaker Jeremy Gillam said he hasn't talked with any members about initiating impeachment proceedings against Griffen. Articles of impeachment would need to be co-sponsored by at least 34 House members for the impeachment process to begin in that chamber.
In a Wednesday statement, Griffen said he remains as committed to the law and his First Amendment right to express his "moral and religious" opposition to the death penalty as he was a year ago when he was disqualified from capital punishment cases for participating in a similar demonstration.
“We are still killing,” the judge told onlookers Tuesday when asked why he returned.
He added in his Wednesday statement that his resolve and hope are "stronger than ever."
Griffen has sued the state’s Supreme Court justices, accusing them of violating his constitutional rights. A federal judge dismissed the high court itself but allowed proceedings against its seven justices to continue.
Meanwhile, Griffen’s attorney, Michael Laux, argued that the judge “has the constitutional right to do this, and we will prove it, if need be.”
“Whether praying or protesting — it doesn’t matter. Both are protected under the First Amendment,” Laux said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.