Court upholds prayer death conviction

07/04/2013 // West Palm Beach , Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

Madison, WI – The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a couple who prayed rather than seeking medical treatment for their child who became severely ill. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), the court ruled that the parents of eleven-year-old Madeline Kara Neumann, who died of undiagnosed diabetes in 2008, were properly convicted of homicide.

The couple was convicted in 2009 by separate juries after being charged with second-degree reckless homicide. They were each ordered to serve one month per year in jail for six years. Their attorneys argued that state law protects those who provide spiritual treatment for a child in lieu of medical care from being charged with child abuse.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that in the couple’s case immunity was not warranted because of the extent the couple went to.

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson is quoted by the AP as writing for the majority, “The juries could reasonably find that by failing to call for medical assistance when Kara was seriously ill and in a coma-like condition for 12 to 14 hours, the parents were creating an unreasonable and substantial risk of Kara’s death, were subjectively aware of that risk, and caused her death.”

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