Outside counsel to handle dueling judicial ethics complaints, politics remain | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Outside counsel to handle dueling judicial ethics complaints, politics remain

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 7:19 AM

The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission announced in a news release that staff attorneys, on the advice of an ethics expert would not handle investigations of complaints against Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen and the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Griffen was referred to the Commission for review by the Supreme Court for participating in a death penalty demonstration outside the Governor's Mansion the same day he decided a case over a drug distributor's effort to reclaim drugs sold to the state Correction Department under false pretenses by the state.

Griffen in turn complained that the Supreme Court had acted improperly in the handling of his case by overturning his order without a hearing and having ex parte communications on the matter.

The Commission will choose special counsel for the cases.

The recusal decisions by Director David Sachar and his deputy, Emily White, came on advice of Howard Brill, the University of Arkansas law professor who recently served a stint by appointment as chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court.

The action had been expected because of the complication of related cases before different panels of the Ethics Commission in which Judicial Discipline staff potentially could be witnesses. Also, though the Commission is independent, it communicates regularly with the Supreme Court.

Brill said that the "sharply conflicting allegations and the scope of the potential charges would like make an investigation lengthy and difficult." It would include interviews with the Supreme Court and others and participants in conflicting allegations would put the staff "in a potential conflict of interest," he wrote


The Commission includes judges, lawyers and public members.

Politics are involved. Three judges are named by the Supreme Court. Three lawyers are named by politicians — attorney general, president of the Senate and House speaker. Three are appointed by the governor and must not be lawyers or judges. The background on appointees is likely why Mike Laux, Griffen's attorney, commented on Twitter:

"Recusal was prudent, to be sure, but whether true impartiality can be achieved here remains to be seen."

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • North Little Rock mayor shows downtown plaza plan

    North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith is presenting a plan to the City Council tonight for a downtown plaza meant to augment planned private developments and further enhanced downtown as a destination.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Attorney general asks for continued secrecy on execution drugs

    As expected, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has asked the Arknasas Supreme Court for an "emergency stay" of a lower court ruling that the Correction Department must produce labels from one of the drugs used in executions.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Groups seek end to commercial collection of wild turtles

    Several environmental organizations to end commercial turtle collection in Arkansas.The harvests (more than 126,000 turtles from 2014 to 2016) are not sustainable and that, in turn, is damaging to ecosystems, the groups said.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016
  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation