The pursuit of Wendell Griffen | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 13, 2007

The pursuit of Wendell Griffen

Posted By on Fri, Jul 13, 2007 at 5:05 PM

The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission today answered Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen. Griffen wants the Supreme Court to make the Commission stick to a July 20 hearing date, not delay it until the end of August and thus push a final decision ever closer to election season. A new commission director, David Stewart, says he needs more time to prepare. Griffen said the rules don't allow the delay and that, furthermore, it was reached by improper ex parte communication between Stewart and the Commission. The commission blames delays on Griffen.

But here's something interesting. This Commission is covered by the state Freedom of Information Act. For actions of a public body to be considered legal, they must be voted on in a public meeting to which adequate public notice had been given. The commission's brief showed that Stewart worked out the decision to delay the hearing in e-mails with commissioners and then advised Griffen of the decision by letter after the fact. There was no announced meeting and no public vote.

And this legally contemptuous commission wants to punish  Wendell Griffen for a rules violation? He's done such awful things as urging compassion for homosexuals and criticizing the Bush Administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina relief and the University of Arkansas's record on race relations.

ACLU director Rita Sklar said it right on KUAR the other day. Ask yourself if Griffen would be facing commission punishment for praising the University of Arkansas and the Bush Administration. He's being punished, not for speaking, but for the content of his speech. If this stands, you can take your First Amendment and smoke it.

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