Later today: A news conference related to Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, removed from a lawsuit over execution drugs and referred to a judicial disciplinary committee for taking part in a death penalty protest on the day he entered an order in the drug case.
Mike Laux, a lawyer who’s mounted successful civil lawsuits over Little Rock police use of deadly force, tells me the news conference will regard conduct of the attorney general and the Arkansas Supreme Court in the matter. They, too, are bound by ethics rules, he notes.
Griffen himself has written that the Supreme Court’s summary removal of him from the drug case followed representations by the attorney general’s office,. He said this denied him due process of law.
The attorney general has also tried to remove the drug case to Faulkner County, but has refused to say why it wants to take the case away from Pulaski Circuit Judge Alice Gray, who drew the case by lot after Griffen was removed, and move it to Faulkner County. It made the motion under a brand new (and curious) state law seemingly intended to provide an avenue for home judicial cooking in cases where a party is not an Arkansas resident. Pulaski County previously had been the venue for most actions involving state agencies. In this case, the plaintiff is a drug distributor, McKesson, attempting to prevent use of its drug for executions.
The Supreme Court overrode both Griffen and Gray orders temporarily blocking use of a paralytic drug in the executions. McKesson had presented evidence of deceptive actions by the state to obtain drugs that the manufacturers don’t want used to end life. The same drug supplied by McKesson is scheduled to be used Thursday for the last execution still pending
The great question going forward is how the state plans to kill others on Death Row after this batch of drugs expires.