THE PROTEST: Wendell Griffen's participation in this demonstration spawned many legal actions, one ended today by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court today declined without comment to hear Judge Wendell Griffen’s appeal of the dismissal of his complaint alleging First Amendment violations by the Arkansas Supreme Court in punishing him for participation in a death penalty protest.

The Arkansas Supreme Court took Griffen off death penalty cases after his participation in a death penalty protest and Good Friday obvservance outside the Governor’s Mansion. This occurred the same day he’d decided a property law case that wound up barring the state from use of an illictly obtained drug for executions. A district judge dismissed the Supreme Court as defendants in the case, but kept open his claim of a First Amendment violation for lijmiting his speech and religious practice. The 8th Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, dismissed the case entirely.


Griffen wanted to clarify the question of when a court could take the extraordinary step of dismissal, but the Supreme Court declined to take it up.

The lower courts held that Griffen’s rights as a citizen had not been abridged, only his activities as a public official under supervision of the court.


The case also spawned dueling judicial misconduct complaints, dismissed as to Griffen’s against the Supreme Court.

Speaking of the 1st Amendment: This article takes note of a decision in federal court in Fayetteville last week in which it said a Rastafarian minister’s religious rights weren’t infringed when he was arrested for trespass after refusing to leave a convenience store. He contended he was demonstrating in support of the medical marijuana proposal on the 2016 ballot. The court said he was bothering customers and that explained his arrest, not his expression of beliefs.