High Court Reassigns Cases From Judge Who Took Part In Death Penalty Protest

Apr 17, 2017

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen at a protest Friday where he appeared to mimic being strapped to an execution table.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Supreme Court is barring a judge who blocked the state's multiple executions plan from taking up any death penalty related cases after he participated in a protest where he appeared to mimic an inmate about to receive lethal injection drugs.

Justices on Monday reassigned the cases from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen. The judge last week prohibited the state from using a lethal injection drug a supplier said was misleadingly obtained. Griffen participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration after issuing the ruling Friday.

The state's highest court also referred Griffen to the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to consider whether he violated the code of conduct for judges.

At the demonstration, Griffen was strapped to a cot. The judge says he's morally opposed to the death penalty, but that his beliefs shouldn't prevent him from taking up certain cases.