Jurors in the 2012 trial found Neuman guilty but mentally ill. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for the murder charge plus five years for a firearm charge. In the second trial, Neuman’s attorneys argued as part of their appeal, “witnesses were prohibited from fully testifying as to matters which would have supported his sole defense of insanity."
Michael Tarleton, representing Neuman, said Wednesday that the DeKalb DA’s office should have been disqualified from prosecuting a second time due to their exposure to that privileged information.
“What we specifically disputed was whether or not they could erase that evidence from their own minds,” Tarleton said. “We have no way of challenging that ourselves and it shouldn’t be our burden to do so.”
Anna Cross, part of the prosecution team that convicted Neuman, said there was no evidence of impropriety during the second trial.
“It’s always been the defendant’s burden to prove some kind of harm,” she said Wednesday. “What impact did state’s access to this evidence have? Independently, state experts came to the conclusion the defendant was malingering ... without any hint to the documents discussed.”
Neuman’s original sentence was reimposed after his second conviction. Attorney Esther Panitch, who represented Neuman’s ex-wife and observed Wednesday’s virtual hearing, said a third trial is unlikely.
“It’s a longshot,” she said. “They are basing their case on an appearance of impropriety that the Supreme Court originally addressed in its first appeal. No case law in Georgia supports (the defense’s) position as to these facts.”
Neuman, now 58, is incarcerated at the Augusta State Medical Prison.