The Hot Springs Police Department has drawn nationwide attention on the web for its handling of the death Friday afternoon of Thomas Naramore, 18-month-old son of Juvenile Judge Wade Naramore, from apparent heat-related reasons.
The department has been widely criticized for not making an immediate arrest in the case after responding to a report about the infant and meeting the judge with the child after he’d made a 911 call. However, an autopsy wasn’t completed until Monday. Also, a special prosecutor, Scott Ellington of Jonesboro, was appointed Monday in the case because Naramore once was hired by and worked as a deputy for the current prosecutor, Terri Harris.
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There’s widespread commentary that the case is being handled differently because of Naramore’s stature. I don’t think we know enough yet to assert that. A cause of death had to be determined first. We don’t know what Naramore has told police, if anything, or what circumstances preceded the death.
Naramore is “getting off easy,” as some say? There won’t be a day for the rest of the judge’s life that will be easy. As I’ve noted before, handling of such cases around the country varies dramatically (nearly one child death a week occurs under such circumstances, hard as that might be to imagine), from murder prosecutions to no prosecutions at all. That’s the nature of the discretionary system. I’m prepared to wait for more information before, as someone else put it, lighting a torch and sharpening a pitchfork. The judge should be treated no better than anyone in a similar situation. Also no worse.
But the police are feeling some heat (the rumor mill is running overtime in Hot Springs), thus this statement issued last night, posted on Twitter earlier this morning by KARK.