U.S. Supreme Court Won't Hear Anti-Death Penalty Arkansas Judge Suit

Feb 19, 2019

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part in an anti-death penalty demonstration in front of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion in April 2017.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Supreme Court is leaving in place a decision dismissing a lawsuit filed by a judge in Arkansas who was barred from overseeing execution-related cases after he participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration.

The justices said Tuesday that they wouldn't get involved in the lawsuit filed by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

Griffen participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the governor's mansion in 2017 during which he was photographed laying on a cot wearing an anti-death penalty button. Earlier that day, Griffen blocked Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug over the claims that the state misled a medical supply company.

Arkansas' highest court removed Griffen from that case and prohibited him from hearing death penalty cases. Griffen sued, but a federal appeals court dismissed the case.