Panel: No Testimony From Supreme Court Justices In Judge's Ethics Hearing

Jun 7, 2019

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen mimicking a condemned inmate, strapped to a cot during a protest in April 2017 in front of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A disciplinary panel says Arkansas Supreme Court justices don't have to testify in an ethics hearing over a judge's participation in an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug.

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission issued an order Friday granting justices' request to block their testimony in next week's hearing against Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

Griffen was charged with violating judicial rules after he was photographed in 2017 laying on a cot outside the governor's mansion wearing an anti-death penalty button and surrounded by people holding signs opposing executions.

The commission also denied Griffen's request to dismiss the case against him.

Days after the demonstration, the court prohibited Griffen from hearing any execution-related cases.