US

Judge's anti-death penalty protest riles conservatives

Protesters gather outside the state Capitol building on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Little Rock, Ark., to voice their opposition to Arkansas' seven upcoming executions. (AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel)

Protesters gather outside the state Capitol building on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Little Rock, Ark., to voice their opposition to Arkansas' seven upcoming executions. (AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel)  (The Associated Press)

An Arkansas judge who temporarily barred the state from executing inmates sparked outrage among conservatives for participating in anti-death penalty rallies before and after he issued his ruling.

Judge Wendell Griffen made a stir Friday by lying down on a cot and binding himself as though he were a condemned man on a gurney.

The Pulaski County Circuit judge opposes the death penalty and has never shied away from expressing his opinions. He drew the ire of the state's Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission in the past for critical comments he made about President George W. Bush and the Iraq war.

Griffen's participation in Friday's demonstrations led the state attorney general to ask Arkansas' highest court to appoint another judge to oversee the case.

Griffen temporarily barred the state from following through on its plan to execute eight inmates by the end of the month because of a dispute over how it obtained one of its execution drugs.