Weston parents file appeal in prayer death case - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Weston parents file appeal in prayer death case

In 2009 Dale and Leilani Neumann were found guilty of second degree reckless homicide, after they prayed for their 11 year old daughter, Madeline Kara, instead of taken her to a doctor.

During testimony, in separate trial, the two told the court they believed in the power of God to heal the sick.

In October 2009 a judged sentenced the Weston parents to six months behind bars, and ten years of probation. But, their jail time has been delayed. The couple appealed the punishment, arguing their actions before Kara's death were under the state's faith healing law.

Now, the State Supreme Court could hear the case. 

 State law says a person cannot be found guilty of physical abuse of a child if they decide to treat the child with prayer instead of medical treatment.

"You can't have a statue giving you immunity for certain conduct and then at the same time criminalize that conduct," Dale Neumann's attorney, Steven Miller said.

But, prosecutors say the Neumann's are not protected under that law because they were charged with reckless homicide, not physical abuse.

"We believe our convictions were fair and should stand," Marathon County Assistant District Attorney, LaMont Jacobson said.

In a written ruling, an appeals judge said this case is the first of its kind in our state, and needs to be addressed at a higher level to set a precedent for future cases. That's something attorney's on both sides agree with.

"Given the type of issues here, how new they are and lack of precedent in Wisconsin it would be more appropriate for them to handle it," Miller said.

And Jacobson followed, "there really is no law for the court of appeals to follow within the state."

But, there is no guarantee the State Supreme Court will hear the case. If it decides not to, the case will then come back to the Wausau-based appeals court for a decision.

Attorney's say there is no timeline for when the State Supreme Court needs to make their decision.

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