Lawyers for Garland Circuit Judge Wade Naramore, charged with negligent homicide in the hot car death of his 18-month-old son Thomas in 2015, have filed multiple pleadings seeking more information and justification for the charge against Naramore.
The child was left in the car several hours on a hot day. Naramore has said the death was a tragic accident, but not a crime. The misdemeanor case is scheduled for trial June 14. Naramore has been suspended from the bench while the trial pends and other judges have picked up his work.
Legal pleadings by his attorneys Erin Cassanelli and Patrick Benca began with a motion for discovery of prosecutors’ evidence in March.
Last Thursday, the attorneys filed a motion to suppress evidence found after issuance of a search warrant. They said he hadn’t been legally arrested and statements he’d given should be suppressed. That day they also filed a motion saying the prosecutor had failed to provide information requested earlier, including video camera footage from security cameras and the police call to Naramore’s car when he discovered the child was in a backseat carseat and unresponsive. He’d apparently forgotten the child when he went to work in the morning and realized that on his drive back to work after lunch.
Monday, the lawyers requested a bill of particulars in the case. This asks that the state be required to state the criminal act alleged.
His attorneys argued that the state must prove Naramore should have been aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his son’s death would occur and also prove that his failure to perceive the risk was, under court precedent, “a gross deviation from the standard of care a reasonable person would have observed in Mr. Naramore’s situation.”
The “gross deviation,” the attorneys said, means “engaging in criminally culpable risk-creating conduct but failing to appreciate the substantial and unjustifiable risk caused by it.” They continued:
“The state has not identified what criminally culpable risk-creating conduct Mr. Naramore allegedly engaged in that could constitute a gross deviation from the standard of care….”
The attorneys argued that the state must prove Naramore committed a conscious act that created a risk that the child would be left unattended. The evidence shows to the contrary, they argue. They say that Naramore was not aware of his son’s presence in the car when he left him there. The charge does not allege that he engaged in any “specific, blameworthy conduct” that created a risk that would result in his son’s death. “The state must allege either that Mr. Naramore knew his son was in the vehicle when he exited it, leaving his son, or that he did something a reasonable person would not do to create an unreasonable and unjustifiable risk that he would fail to realize his son was left in the vehicle.”
The attorneys argue that the vagueness of the charge make it impossible to present a full defense.