The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission has rejected Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s objection to continuing an ethics complaint for failure to act within an 18-month time limit in the rules.
Michael Laux, Griffen’s lawyer, said the Commission held a telephone meeting and decided to reject Griffen’s argument that the case should be dismissed for a failure to act more than two years after the Arkansas Supreme Court initiated the complaint April 17, 2017.
Laux said the Commission would not hear his argument that the ruling was in error nor explain their “calculation” that the 18-month time limit had not been exceeded. Delays and changes in the special counsel prosecuting the case have been a cause for delay, but Griffen contends those shouldn’t stop the time clock on speedy handling of judicial complaints.
Griffen is facing an ethics charge for participating in a death penalty demonstration on the day he’d decided a property rights case pertaining to a drug used in executions. He ruled that the drug distributor should get back drugs Arkansas planned to use in executions because they’d been illicitly obtained. Griffen has said his beliefs didn’t affect the handling of the case and that he had a right to free speech and religious practice to participate in the demonstration with his church members at the Governor’s Mansion.
The commission has delayed the trial of the charge until June 13-14. Laux says the commission’s actions in the case have been “corrupt.” He said, “There is no way Judge Griffen is going to get a fair hearing.”