Formal Charges Filed Against Six Arkansas Supreme Court Judges In Griffen Fight

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission filed formal charges Thursday against six state Supreme Court justices more than a year after Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen and the court filed counter-complaints over Griffen’s death penalty protests.

The state’s nine-person judicial disciplinary panel began an investigation last summer after receiving a complaint from Griffen stemming from an April 17, 2017, state Supreme Court ruling removing the Pulaski County circuit court judge from participating in any of the state’s execution cases. That ruling came hours after Griffen attended an anti-death penalty rally within hours of filing an injunction halting the executions of seven death row inmates.

In its findings, written by Special Counsel J. Brent Standridge, the judicial commission said Chief Justice Judge Dan Kemp and Justices Robyn Wynne, Courtney Goodson, Jo Hart, Karen Baker and Rhonda Wood violated their judicial ethics by “improperly ruling on a petition for an extraordinary writ without giving Judge Griffen sufficient notice and an opportunity to be heard …”

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