Arkansas Judge Seeks End To Ethics Case Over Death Penalty Protest

Aug 17, 2018

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

An attorney for an Arkansas judge who faces sanctions for participating in a death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked the use of an execution drug says the complaint against the jurist is more about optics than it is ethics.

A judicial ethics commission on Friday held a hearing on Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's request to dismiss the complaint against him over the demonstration last year. Griffen was photographed laying on a cot outside the governor's mansion during a death penalty demonstration last year.

A three-member panel of the commission in June charged Griffen with violating ethics rules, citing the demonstration as well as comments he made online and on social media against the death penalty. Griffen's attorney says the judge's actions are constitutionally protected.