Judge Griffen responds to judicial disciplinary complaint | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 5, 2017

Judge Griffen responds to judicial disciplinary complaint

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 3:32 PM

'SOLIDARITY WITH JESUS;: Judge Griffen explains his Good Friday demonstration. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • 'SOLIDARITY WITH JESUS;: Judge Griffen explains his Good Friday demonstration.

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen
has provided the formal response he's filed to notice that the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission is investigating his conduct on a referral from the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The Court asked for the investigation after reversing an order Griffen issued in a complaint by drug distributor McKesson that the state Correction Department had been dishonest in obtaining a drug McKesson sold for use in executions, a use McKesson and the maker, Pfizer, attempt to prevent. After making that ruling, Griffen participated in a demonstration at the death penalty in front of the Governor's Mansion. He was strapped to a cot. He appeared to most to be depicting an inmate strapped down for execution, but said later that he was portraying, on Good Friday, the crucifixion of Christ.

Judicial investigations typically are confidential until the agency decides there's probable cause for discipline. Then, if a judge objects, the subsequent hearing by the Commission can be held in public. Griffen said he'd waived confidentiality in his investigation. He has, in turn, complained about the ethical conduct of the Supreme Court in reversing him and referring him for discipline without a hearing and the Arkansas attorney general's office in its effort to remove him from the case and foregoing its normal representation of judges.

His three-page response makes many of the points he made before, particularly in posts on his blog.

He said the McKesson case was assigned to him after he'd attended a death penalty rally at the Capitol in which he took no role beyond attendance. He said he acted in the case on a "verified complaint" about misuse of the plaintiff's property and ruled, following law, that a restraining order was called to preserve the disputed property until a full evidentiary hearing. This, he didn't say, had the effect of preventing executions from going forward because it was the only supply of one of three drugs to be used.

He said the event later at the Mansion was a Holy Week prayer vigil. He lay on the cot in solidarity with Jesus, he said. He said that did not constitute a judicial function and nothing he said or did there related to the McKesson case. Similarly, he said nothing he'd written on his blog about the death penalty involved the McKesson case.

"Thus, your complaint — and its underlying referral by the Arkansas Supreme Court — is a naked attempt to intimidte and punish me for exercising my rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of religious expression and right to peaceful assembly that are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."
He also contended he'd violated no law or element of the judicial code of conduct.

He said the case should be dismissed, rather than "waste your time, the resources of your office and mine." He urged the office to release all material gathered in the case to the public and said he'd be represented by three lawyers in the case — Austin Porter Jr. and Mike Laux of Little Rock and Michael Matthews of Tampa.


Tags: , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Supreme Court again dodges gay bias case

    The U.S. Supreme Court today in an unsigned order said a lower court should reconsider the case of a florist in the state of Washington who refused to make an arrangement for a same-sex wedding.
    • Jun 25, 2018
  • Bret Bielema sells his Fayetteville home

    KFSM reports that former Razorback football coach Bret Bielema has sold his Fayetteville home and apparently made a tidy profit on it.
    • Jun 25, 2018
  • Little Rock's new free WiFi kiosk isn't cost-free

    A high-tech advertising device is to be proudly unveiled by the city today, Local media might have a reason to hold their applause.
    • Jun 25, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation