Monday, August 22, 2016

Naramore case a long way from over

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 3:16 PM

click to enlarge JUDGE WADE NARAMORE Suspension still in effect.
  • JUDGE WADE NARAMORE Suspension still in effect.
The acquittal Friday of Judge Wade Naramore on a negligent homicide charge in the hot car death of his son last July doesn't bring a close to the issue or mean his return to the bench in Hot Springs.

Naramore was suspended with pay from duty as a judge for juvenile matters in February, as a police investigation continued. That suspension by the Arkansas Supreme Court remains in effect until completion of proceedings before the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.

That proceeding was held in abeyance pending the outcome of the trial. It now continues in a confidential investigation stage and at some point there will be a public announcement of the disposition, said David Sachar, executive director of the Commission.

In this case, or any judicial discipline case, there could be a dismissal, a negotiated ending or a filing that puts a matter before the Commission for a public hearing. The last option occurs when the Commission recommends an action to which a judge objects.

A complete record of the prosecution will have to be filed in this case. The Commission, which meets once a month, will have to review the entirety of the file. Note that the commission decides not only disciplinary questions — violations of the code of conduct — but also disability issues. It could, to speculate, take up the question of Naramore's emotional fitness to resume duties. He testified during his trial about his unsettled state after the death and the daze in which he sometimes found himself. If he returns to the bench, he'll have to consider cases involving fitness of parents in caring for children. An examination of disability would likely include some expert testimony.

It's impossible to say how long it will take for the disciplinary/disability proceeding to come to an end.  A safe bet seems toward the end of this year, more than 18 months after the death. In Naramore's absence from the bench, local judges and judges appointed as substitutes by the Supreme Court have been handling his docket.

PS: Drew Petrimoulx of Fox 16/KARK will talk to the jury foreman in the Naramore case on Fox16 news at 5:30 p.m.

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