Arkansas Judge Joined Death-Penalty Protests on Same Day He Blocked Executions

An Arkansas judge attended two death-penalty protests on the same day that he issued an order blocking the state’s multiple executions, at one point allowing himself to be strapped to a cot in a simulation of an inmate slated to die by lethal injection.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen “cannot be considered remotely impartial on issues related to the death penalty,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in an emergency petition filed Saturday challenging his order.

She said Mr. Griffen attended a 2 p.m. Friday rally at the state capitol in Little Rock before issuing the temporary restraining order at about 4:25 p.m., then resurfaced at an evening protest outside the governor’s mansion.

“Within an hour of granting the TRO [temporary restraining order], Judge Griffen was photographed at a second anti-death penalty rally — this one at the Governor’s Mansion, where Judge Griffen lay strapped down to a cot to simulate the experience of a condemned prisoner on a gurney,” said the petition. “Judge Griffen was protesting the very executions he had just enjoined.”

The judge also spoke out against the executions in a blog post earlier this month, saying that “Arkansas officials plan to commit a series of homicides,”according to the petition. (Read more from “Arkansas Judge Joined Death-Penalty Protests on Same Day He Blocked Executions” HERE)

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