Arkansas court won’t prohibit judge from hearing AG’s cases

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the state attorney general’s request to prohibit a judge who demonstrated against the death penalty from handling any cases involving her office.In a 4-3 decision, justices rejected the request by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to remove the cases from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s court. The court did not elaborate on the reason for its decision in a one-page order.

Griffen was prohibited from handling execution cases in 2017 after he participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug. Rutledge asked in September the order on execution cases be expanded to include all civil cases involving her office.

Rutledge accused Griffen of regularly yelling at attorneys from her office when they appeared in his court. Griffen has denied any claims of bias.

Rutledge made the request following Griffen’s decision in a case regarding an unsuccessful applicant for a medical marijuana cultivation license.

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