Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Convictions Affirmed Where Parents Chose Prayer Over Medical Treatment

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has affirmed convictions for second-degree reckless homicide in the death of an 11 year old child who died on Easter Sunday 2008.

The parents relied on prayers rather than treatment.

From Chief Justice Abrahamson's majority opinion:

Kara died when her father and mother, Dale R. Neumann and Leilani E. Neumann, chose to treat Kara's undiagnosed serious illness with prayer, rather than medicine.  Each parent was charged with and convicted of the second-degree reckless homicide of Madeline Kara Neumann in violation of Wis. Stat. ยง 940.06(1) (2009) in separate trials with different juries.

The cause of death was diabetic ketoacidosis resulting from untreated juvenile onset diabetes mellitus.

Justice Prosser dissented:

This case is a tragedy in virtually every respect.  I cannot say that the result of the Neumann trials is unjust.  Nonetheless, there were and are serious deficiencies in the law and they ought to be addressed by the legislature and the courts.  Failing to acknowledge these deficiencies will not advance the long-term administration of justice.

(Mike Frisch)

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