Panel dismisses ethics charges against Arkansas justices

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A disciplinary panel has dismissed ethics charges against the Arkansas Supreme Court’s justices over their decision to prohibit a judge who participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration from hearing any execution-related cases.

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on Friday dismissed the charges that justices violated ethics rules when they disqualified Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen. The court last year prohibited Griffen from hearing death penalty cases after he was photographed laying on a cot during a demonstration outside the governor’s mansion the same day he blocked Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug.

A three-member panel earlier this year said the justices never gave Griffen notice or an opportunity to be heard over his removal. Justices argued the commission didn’t have jurisdiction over the complaint.

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