US

Arkansas judge barred from execution cases after protest

  • This photo provided by Sherry Simon shows Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part of an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the Governor's Mansion Friday, April 14, 2017 in Little Rock, Ark.  Griffen issued a temporary restraining order Friday blocking the state from using its supply of vecuronium bromide after a company said it had sold the drug to the state for medical purposes, not capital punishment.   Local media outlets had tweeted photos and video of Griffen appearing to mimic an inmate strapped to a gurney at the demonstration.   Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office said she planned to file an emergency request with the state Supreme Court to vacate Griffen's order, saying Griffen shouldn't handle the case.  (Sherry Simon via AP)

    This photo provided by Sherry Simon shows Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part of an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the Governor's Mansion Friday, April 14, 2017 in Little Rock, Ark. Griffen issued a temporary restraining order Friday blocking the state from using its supply of vecuronium bromide after a company said it had sold the drug to the state for medical purposes, not capital punishment. Local media outlets had tweeted photos and video of Griffen appearing to mimic an inmate strapped to a gurney at the demonstration. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office said she planned to file an emergency request with the state Supreme Court to vacate Griffen's order, saying Griffen shouldn't handle the case. (Sherry Simon via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • 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)

A judge who lay on a cot as though he were a condemned man on a gurney after issuing an order halting Arkansas' multiple execution plan has been barred from taking up any death penalty-related cases.

The state Supreme Court reassigned the cases from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Monday, days after he participated in the anti-death penalty demonstration outside the governor's mansion. Griffin is being referred to a disciplinary panel.

Griffen did not immediately return a message Monday seeking reaction to the high court's order. He has said he's morally opposed to the death penalty and that his personal beliefs alone shouldn't disqualify him from taking up certain cases.

Griffen's protest has sparked outrage among death penalty supporters, including Republican lawmakers who described it as judicial misconduct.