Friday, April 13, 2018

Judge's Suit Challenging His Removal From Death Penalty Cases Moves Ahead

In Griffen v. Arkansas Supreme Court, (ED AR, April 12, 2018), an Arkansas federal district court held that sovereign and judicial immunity do not bar a suit for declaratory relief brought by a state court judge against justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court after they barred him from hearing death penalty cases.  Plaintiff, who is also a pastor, was active in demonstrations and vigils opposing the death penalty.  He contends that the action taken against him amounts to retaliation based on his speech and religion in violation of the 1st Amendment and the Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The court held that he had stated a plausible claim for relief.  AP reports on the decision.

UPDATE: On April 24, defendants filed a writ of mandamus with the 8th Circuit challenging the district court's refusal to dismiss the lawsuit. (Arkansas Online).