The Arkansas judge who on Friday halted the state’s April executions, then participated in death-penalty protests, has a history of left-wing advocacy.
During the past year, Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen has voiced opposition to President Trump, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the North Carolina transgender bathroom bill, drug laws, voter ID requirements, Israel, “white Christian nationalism,” and “abusive and homicidal police conduct.”
Conversely, Judge Griffen has praised Black Lives Matter and efforts to assist Palestinians. In a Facebook post earlier this year, he prompted his followers to attend a January 29 “community show of support for immigrants and Muslims” in Little Rock.
The 64-year-old judge has also come out against Democrats on occasion.
“Can we handle the truth that the Congressional Black Caucus, like almost every other national politician (including politicians across the ideological spectrum) appears to be controlled by the pro-Israeli government lobbying, journalistic, and policy lobby?” Judge Griffen asked in Facebook post on September 5.
“This also appears to be sadly true for many black religious organizations and leaders [across] the U.S.,” he added. “The Black Lives Matter movement is a welcome and long-needed alternative.”
Judge Griffen, who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2016 without opposition, stood by his decision to participate in two death-penalty protests Friday where he was willingly strapped to a cot to simulate a condemned inmate facing execution by lethal injection.
Earlier Friday he had issued a temporary restraining order blocking Arkansas from executing eight inmates in 11 days prior to the April 30 expiration of a lethal-injection drug key to the process.
“We have never, in my knowledge, been so afraid to admit that people can have personal beliefs yet can follow the law, even when to follow the law means they have to place their personal feelings aside,” Judge Griffen told The Associated Press.
The judge had previously taken a different stance in one of his blog posts, noting that, “I am allowed to comment about controversial matters of public policy as long as the controversy does not involve pending or impending cases before me.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed an appeal Saturday claiming that Judge Griffen “cannot be considered remotely impartial on issues related to the death penalty.”
H/T: The Washington Times
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