Arkansas judge barred from execution cases after protest

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.