Wed May 2, 2012
Neumann faith healing case may go to State Supreme Court
Appellate judges are asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to hear the so called "prayer death case", in which a Wausau area couple was found guilty for not seeking medical help for their critically ill daughter.
Dale and Leilani Neumann were convicted of reckless homicide in separate trials for the death of their 11 year old daughter Madeline Kara. The couple prayed for her, but did not call a doctor, as she lay in a diabetic coma. In his trial in 2009, Dale Neumann was adamant that he had the right to rely solely on prayer, even if meant that Madeline Kara would die, "And if you read the Gospels, and you read the Epistles, any mention that Jesus had, he never went to a doctor. Ever."
Marathon County Judge Vincent Howard told Dale Neumann that freedom of religion is absolute when it comes to belief, but that it does not protect conduct, "In this nation, the sanctity of your religious beliefs is protected by the constitutional guarantee. But what is overlooked, and overlooked by you, is that the guarantee is a limited one. It protects religious belief, but not religious conduct and practices."
At issue are conflicting Wisconsin state statutes. One makes parents responsible for the well-being of their children, but another allows prayer as a substitute for medical treatment. Leilani Neumann's attorney, the late Gene Linehan, predicted in 2009 that the Wisconsin Supreme Court would eventually have to take the case, "This has to go up to the state legislature. It has to go to the Supreme Court, so we get a statewide standard that is in writing before the situation occurs."
Now, the appeals court in Wausau agrees that the case should go to the state's highest court.