Arkansas court won’t let judge hear execution cases again

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FILE – In this April 17, 2018, file image from video provided by KTHV-TV, a death penalty protester outside the Arkansas governor’s mansion in Little Rock prepares to tie rope around Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen who is laying on a cot in protest of executions. Arkansas’ attorney general is asking the state Supreme Court to reassign cases involving her office from a judge who’s been prohibited from handling execution cases, accusing him of regularly being biased against her staff. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, requested that the court reassign the civil cases from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who was prohibited from handling execution cases in 2017 after he participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration.(KTHV/TEGNA Inc. via AP, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court says it won’t allow a judge who demonstrated against the death penalty the same day he blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug to resume hearing execution cases.

The court on Thursday rejected the request by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, whom the court disqualified from hearing execution cases in 2017 following the demonstration outside the governor’s mansion. Griffen in June asked the court to allow him to hear death penalty cases again.

Justices said they rejected the request because the judge didn’t file it within 18 days of the court’s decision.

The ruling came two days after Attorney General Leslie Rutledge asked justices to reassign any civil cases handled by her office from Griffen’s court. Rutledge accused Griffen of being biased against her staff. Griffen has denied those claims.

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