Arkansas Judge Asks That Bid To Reassign Cases Get Tossed

Sep 26, 2019

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part in a death penalty demonstration outside the Arkansas Governor's Mansion in April 2017.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge who demonstrated against the death penalty is asking the state Supreme Court to dismiss the attorney general's request to prohibit the judge from hearing cases involving her office.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen told the state Supreme Court Thursday that the request by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to reassign the civil cases is a "blatant attempt" to defy Arkansas' constitution and its process for investigating complaints against judges. Rutledge has accused Griffen of regularly demonstrating bias against her staff in his court.

Griffen was prohibited from handling execution cases in April 2017 after he was photographed participating in a death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug. The court last week rejected Griffen's request to resume hearing execution cases.