Court won’t re­vive judge’s law­suit over ex­e­cu­tion protest

Manteca Bulletin - - Local -

LIT­TLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A fed­eral ap­peals court said Wed­nes­day that it won’t re­vive an Arkansas judge’s law­suit chal­leng­ing his dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from ex­e­cu­tion cases for par­tic­i­pat­ing in an anti-death penalty demon­stra­tion out­side the gover­nor’s man­sion.

The 8th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals de­nied a mo­tion to re­con­sider a three-judge panel’s de­ci­sion to dis­miss Pu­laski County Cir­cuit Judge Wen­dell Grif­fen’s law­suit against the Arkansas Supreme Court jus­tices.

Grif­fen was pho­tographed on a cot out­side the gover­nor’s man­sion last year wear­ing an anti-death penalty but­ton and sur­rounded by peo­ple hold­ing plac­ards op­pos­ing ex­e­cu­tions. Ear­lier that day, Grif­fen blocked the state from us­ing a lethal in­jec­tion drug over claims that the state had mis­led the man­u­fac­turer. The state Supreme Court pro­hib­ited Grif­fen from han­dling any ex­e­cu­tion-re­lated cases fol­low­ing the demon­stra­tion.

The court’s one-page or­der did not elab­o­rate on the rul­ing. The three-judge panel in July said Arkansas had “com­pelling in­ter­ests” in pro­tect­ing the pub­lic per­cep­tion of an im­par­tial ju­di­ciary.

Grif­fen has ar­gued that his dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from hear­ing such cases vi­o­lated his con­sti­tu­tional rights. His at­tor­ney, Mike Laux, said he planned to ap­peal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He said a 2002 rul­ing from the high court found that pre­serv­ing the “ap­pear­ance” of ju­di­cial im­par­tial­ity isn’t a com­pelling state in­ter­est.

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