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Judge barred from executions cases seeks justices' recusal

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen
KUAR Public Radio

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge who participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug wants state Supreme Court justices to disqualify themselves from hearing his request to handle execution-related cases again.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen filed the petition Wednesday with the state Supreme Court, which prohibited him from handling execution cases after he was photographed lying on a cot outside the governor's mansion during the demonstration in April 2017. A disciplinary panel last month dismissed an ethics case against Griffen over the demonstration, and Griffen has asked the court to allow him to preside over execution cases again.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson would have to appoint special justices to preside over Griffen's case if the justices recuse themselves.