A father whose 17-month-old son died after being left in a hot car nearly three years ago will remain on the state's Child Maltreatment Registry, the state Court of Appeals ruled this week.
The identity of the appellant in the case was sealed shortly after it was first filed in September. Court documents use the male pronoun and refer to him by the initials "WN."
The case sought to reverse a decision by the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division to place the father on the maltreatment list after a finding of "neglect by inadequate supervision."
The Child Maltreatment Central Registry covers people accused of various types of child abuse, ranging from neglect to physical abuse, regardless of whether the accused were prosecuted. All that's necessary for placement on the registry is a report filed with state Department of Human Services investigators that is found to be true.
The list is used in pre-employment screenings by school districts, day care centers, hospitals and other organizations that have children in their care.
Those on the list for certain offenses can request removal through an internal process at the state Department of Human Services. But those who were placed on the registry for abuse or neglect that caused the death of the child are there permanently and cannot even request an internal appeal, according to administrative rules.
The only possible remedy the offender has is to appeal to the court system.
In this case, WN lost appeals on three levels: first by the Arkansas administrative law judge, then by the Pulaski County Circuit Court and then by the state Court of Appeals on Wednesday.
In the appeals, WN said the state police division had not proved that he showed "conscious" disregard of parental responsibility in the death of his son in July 2015.
"Essentially, WN asserted that, due to the unusual circumstances and stresses of that day, his brain reverted to habit, and he lost awareness of his child, and to lose awareness is not disregard of a duty; therefore, no neglect occurred," according to the state Court of Appeals decision.
Court of Appeals Judge Bart Virden said in his ruling Wednesday that the administrative law judge and circuit judge made the correct decision in saying that enough evidence existed to prove that the toddler's death was caused by "neglect by inadequate supervision."
"WN placed TN in a car seat in a car on a hot day, a known potentially dangerous situation," Virden wrote in the ruling.
The facts of the case mirror that of Garland County Circuit Judge Wade Naramore, who was acquitted by a jury in 2016 of misdemeanor negligent homicide in the death of his 17-month-old son, Thomas Naramore. The toddler died after being left in a hot car for more than five hours.
Naramore testified in his 2016 criminal trial that he "lost awareness" that his son was in the vehicle and he forgot to drop the child off at day care.
The case referenced in the Child Maltreatment Registry appeal refers to a child with the initials TN who died on July 24, 2015 -- the same day that Thomas Naramore passed away. The appeal affirmation also cites the names of the same witnesses who testified at Naramore's criminal trial.
Messages left for Naramore and his attorneys, Erin Cassinelli and Patrick Benca, were not returned as of late Thursday.
Metro on 06/08/2018
Print Headline: Dad in hot-car death loses delisting appeal