The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday refused to bar a Little Rock judge from handling cases involving the office of the state attorney general who in 2017 got him removed from execution cases after he demonstrated against the death penalty in his extrajudicial role as a Baptist pastor.
The Arkansas Supreme Court won’t restore the authority of a circuit judge who also serves as pastor of a Baptist church to decide death-penalty cases, and the state’s top lawyer wants him barred from any civil cases involving her office in separate but intertwined controversies that began with a prayer vigil protesting capital punishment on Good Friday in 2017.
Justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday refused to recuse themselves from a case claiming they improperly barred a Little Rock judge from hearing death penalty cases because he exercised his religious liberty by attending a execution vigil in his other role as a Baptist pastor.
Interfaith clergy, including leaders in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, released a statement July 23 calling on the state of Texas to drop its ban on prison chaplains from its execution chamber, imposed after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the state could not execute an inmate without allowing a Buddhist chaplain to be in the room at his time of death.
An Arkansas judge cleared of ethics charges stemming from his participation in an anti-death penalty demonstration two years ago has petitioned the state’s Supreme Court to restore his power to hear and decide capital cases.
The Arkansas state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission has dismissed an ethics charge against a judge who also is a Baptist pastor for participating in an anti-death penalty demonstration on Good Friday 2017.
Wendell Griffen, 66, is all of these things. But his persona is so large, his reputation so loud, his “rightness” so locked in and eagerly defended, that the man’s depth can be lost in the shallows in which he must wade.
In one of life’s delicious little ironies, New Millennium Church now meets on the campus associated with one of Little Rock’s most ardent racists of the 1950s.
View the photo gallery of Wendell Griffen.