Prosecutors on Monday filed the most detailed sequence of events to date in the hot-car death of an Arkansas circuit judge's infant son.
Several hours later, defense attorneys for Garland County Circuit Judge Wade Naramore responded to the prosecution's bill of particulars, saying it lacked adequate facts to sustain a conviction for negligent homicide. The judge's attorneys, Patrick Benca and Erin Cassinelli, asked special Circuit Judge John Langston to order the state to either provide adequate facts or dismiss the case.
"The State has not provided a bill of particulars," the defense wrote in its response. "The lack of sufficient notice is a violation of due process, as is a charge that is predicated on a lack of sufficient allegations to sustain a conviction."
At the request of Naramore's defense team, Langston had ordered the state to draft a bill of particulars -- a rarely seen statement of charges that gives a more detailed case summary than the initial criminal information.
Naramore pleaded innocent in March after his February arrest on a charge of negligent homicide -- a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The arrest stemmed from the July 24 death of the judge's 18-month-old son, Thomas. Authorities determined that the infant died from excessive heat after being left unattended in a car for more than six hours, according to court documents.
Monday's bill of particulars, filed by deputy prosecutor Thomas Young, listed a timeline of the day Naramore's son died. It also laid out the prosecution's case against Naramore.
Naramore fastened his son into the car seat at about 8:15 a.m. July 24, according to the filing. It was Naramore's daily routine to take his son to day care, located two blocks from the courthouse. Instead he drove to the office and left the infant in the back seat, the filing said.
"The defendant's complete and utter failure to perceive the fact that he had not dropped the victim off at daycare, and his complete and utter failure to perceive that the victim was still in the car when he arrived at the court house, less than twenty five minutes after he had left his house, after personally loading the victim into his car seat, constitutes as a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable parent in charge of an 18 month old child would have observed in his situation," the prosecution wrote.
Naramore, in an interview with police, said that the morning he forgot his son in the car was out of the ordinary because he stopped at McDonald's for breakfast and was worried about a court case scheduled for that day, according to court documents.
The prosecution's filing also noted a similar case in 2009 involving a hot-car death in Fort Smith. In that case, several factors led to the parents of a 20-month-old girl leaving her in the car for three hours after church. The Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed a jury's conviction for negligent homicide in that case.
Prosecutors said in Monday's filing that the 2009 case mirrored the Naramore case, but the defense disagreed.
A hearing for Naramore is scheduled for today to set a trial date and agree on the content of the jury questionnaire, but it wasn't clear Monday evening how the new filings would affect today's hearing.
Langston delayed the trial earlier this month under objections from the defense.
"I don't think we've allowed ourselves enough time to try this case," he said at the time.
The state Crime Laboratory is still trying to access evidence that the state has been unable to provide the defense team, Young said Monday. A thumb drive containing Naramore's phone records and a video, purportedly showing Naramore entering and exiting the courthouse the day his son died, are currently unable to be accessed.
After voluntarily taking a leave of absence days after his son's death, Naramore was suspended with pay Feb. 18 by the Arkansas Supreme Court at the recommendation of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. His annual salary is about $160,000.
Metro on 06/14/2016
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