Arkansas court won’t prohibit judge from hearing AG’s cases

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FILE – In this Aug. 17, 2018, file photo, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen holds a copy of the U.S. Constitution at a news conference in Little Rock, Ark. The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, rejected the state attorney general’s request to prohibit a judge who demonstrated against the death penalty from handling any cases involving her office. In a 4-3 decision, justices rejected the request by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to remove the cases from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s court. (AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo, File)

(AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court says it won’t prohibit a judge who demonstrated against the death penalty from handling any cases involving the state attorney general’s office.

Justices on Thursday rejected the request by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to remove the cases from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s court.

Griffen was prohibited from handling execution cases in 2017 after he participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug.

FILE – In this file photo made Thursday, April 25, 2019, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge speaks at a news conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, rejected the state attorney general’s request to prohibit a judge who demonstrated against the death penalty from handling any cases involving her office. In a 4-3 decision, justices rejected the request by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to remove the cases from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s court.(AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo)

Rutledge asked in September that the order on execution cases be expanded.

Although the Attorney General’s Office is disappointed in the Court’s denial of our request to remove Judge Wendell Griffin from all cases involving this office for his blatant and overt bias, the decision proves the Court is divided on this request with three of the seven justices agreeing that our request has merit.

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