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Panel won’t dismiss complaint over judge’s execution protest

August 20, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A disciplinary panel says it won’t dismiss an effort to sanction an Arkansas judge who participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the governor’s mansion the same day he blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug.

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on Monday denied Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s motion to dismiss the ethics complaint over his participation in the demonstration last year. Griffen was photographed laying on a cot wearing an anti-death penalty button and surrounded by people holding signs opposing executions.

A three-member panel of the commission in June charged Griffen with violating ethics rules, citing the demonstration as well as comments he made online and on social media against the death penalty. Griffen had argued his actions were constitutionally protected.

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