LITTLE ROCK — An Arkansas judge barred by the state Supreme Court from hearing death penalty cases says justices are retaliating against him for exercising his First Amendment rights.


Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen has sued the justices, saying they improperly took him off execution cases. His lawyer asked a federal appeals court late Monday to reject the justices’ request to halt depositions and discovery during an appeal. The justices say their deliberations should be off-limits.


Griffen last year took part in a death penalty protest after ruling the state Department of Correction could not administer an execution drug after a company questioned whether it had been obtained through proper channels. Griffen says the state Supreme Court barred him from cases even though no one asked for such a ruling.