HOT SPRINGS -- Retired judges assigned to the bench in Garland County Circuit Judge Wade Naramore's stead since September have been paid $44,499 through Friday while Naramore has continued to draw his $160,000 annual salary, according to the state auditor's office.
Naramore hasn't presided over Division 2, which is assigned all of Garland County's juvenile-court cases, since the July 24, 2015, death of his 17-month-old son, Thomas. Naramore was arrested Feb. 11 on a charge of negligent homicide after the boy died after being left in the back seat of a hot car.
The state Supreme Court suspended Naramore with pay Feb. 18 on the recommendation of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.
Special-judge payments issued through Friday are for assignments through July 27. According to the state's Administrative Office of the Courts, 16 more assignments were scheduled for after July 27. Special judges assigned to sit in Division 2 are scheduled as far into the future as Sept. 15.
A total 172 assignments have been made since September, when retired Circuit Judge David Goodson was the first special judge dispatched to Division 2. Through Friday, he's been paid for 65 days of assignments, receiving $19,999. Retired Circuit Judge Stephen Choate has been paid for 57 days, receiving $17,538.
Retired judges receive $307.69 a day, or half the daily rate for a full-time circuit judge, according to the auditor's office. Payments from the state appropriation for special judges are released when the administrative office of the courts submits a payment request, according to the auditor's office.
Several assignment orders have sent sitting judges to Division 2. According to the auditor's office, sitting judges don't receive extra pay for special-judge assignments.
Most assignment orders schedule judges for specific dates, but an order the Supreme Court issued July 12 assigned retired Circuit Judge Ted Capeheart to delinquency cases involving two youths accused of rape. The administrative office of the courts said the order gives Capeheart continuing jurisdiction over the cases, allowing him to preside over them for the entirety of the adjudication process.
The $44,499 total doesn't include retired Circuit Judge John Langston's pay for presiding over the criminal case against Naramore, or retired Circuit Judge Sam Bird's work on a civil matter related to the case.
Garland County's three other circuit judges recused from the criminal case against Naramore.
Metro on 08/14/2016