Judge Set to Appear Before Judicial Discipline Panel

LITTLE ROCK - An Arkansas court of appeals judge is to appear before a judicial discipline panel today for a probable-cause hearing on accusations that could lead to discipline. Judge wendell griffen is scheduled to appear before the state's arkansas judicial discipline and disability commission to defend remarks he made about president bush and others. Griffen says his comments were protected by the first amendment of the constitution and denies that they violated judicial rules. Griffen drew the commission's attention with a 2005 speech to the arkansas chapter of the national association for the advancement of colored people. In that speech, he said president bush and others in his administration were hypocritical to show up at the scene days after hurricane katrina and express concern. Griffen also criticized bush's nomination of john roberts as chief justice of the u-s supreme court. Those remarks were made in front of 12-hundred people at a national baptist convention u-s-a event. Griffen's probable-cause hearing initially was set to be closed to the public. Griffen appealed that decision and the arkansas supreme court in january ruled it should be open to the public.

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