Republican lawmakers questioned Judge Wendell Griffens impartiality after he lay bound on a cot following his ruling to halting executions
The judge who on Friday barred Arkansas from executing six hostages in rapid succession followed his ruling by attending an anti-death penalty rally, where he lay down on a cot and bound himself as though he were a condemned boy on a gurney.
Judge Wendell Griffens participation in the protest outside the Arkansas governors mansion sparked anger among death penalty supporters, including Republican lawmakers who described it as judicial misconduct and potential grounds for Griffens removal from the bench.
Arkansas us attorney general Leslie Rutledge on Saturday asked the states highest court to vacate Griffens ruling and asked for a new judge to be assigned the occurrence.
Griffen, a Pulaski County circuit judge, ruled against the nation because of international disputes over how the nation obtained one of its execution drugs. In an interview on Saturday, he said he was morally opposed to the death penalty and that his personal ideas alone should not disqualify him from taking up certain cases.
We have never, in the best of my knowledge, been so afraid to admit that people can have personal ideas yet can follow the law, even when to follow the law means they must place their personal impressions aside, he told.
On Friday, Griffen granted a restraining notice avoiding Arkansas from applying its render of vecuronium bromide, one of three drugs it use in executings, because the supplier said the state misleadingly acquired the drug.
The ruling came a day before a federal judge halted the executions on different grounds. The back-to-back decisions upend what had been a plan to execute eight humen in 11 periods, starting on Monday, because the states render of one of the other execution drugs expires at the end of the month.
Griffen declined to comment on the demo or his ruling, “says hes” would address any questions concerning it at a hearing he scheduled for Tuesday.
Citing the judges participation in anti-death penalty events before and after issuing his ruling, us attorney general Rutledge wrote on Saturday: This court should put a stop to the games being played by a judge who is obviously unable to preside over this case impartially.
Lawmakers have suggested the move is a possibility grounds for the Arkansas House to begin impeachment proceedings, saying the demo and a blogpost Griffen wrote on the death penalty this week may amount to gross misconduct under the nation constitution.
He is outside the binds of normal behavior for most judges likely anywhere in America, Republican state senator Jason Rapert told.
It is also unclear whether the move would prompt action from the states judicial discipline and disability benefits committee. Griffen, who served 12 years on the nation court of appeals, has battled with the members of the commission over remarks he made criticizing George W Bush and the war in Iraq. The panel ultimately plummeted its case against him.
Griffen said he would not consider a persons participation in an anti-execution event enough, on its own, to warrant disqualifying a juror from a death penalty occurrence. The topic, he told, is whether the juror could define his or her individual points of view aside and follow the law.
We do not require people to come into court with blank slates, either in their intellects or their nerve, he told.