Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Blog for Andrea Sneiderman Murder Trial

Upon Andrea Sneiderman's arrest, I created a new blog to address those matters, primarily because a blog named the Hemy Neuman Murder Trial didn't seem appropriate.

Here is the new blog:  The Dunwoody Murder Case of Andrea Sneiderman  (Link opens in new window).

If you are in Atlanta, I lead an in-person discussion group called the #DMTDC.  Join here:

For further inquires or information:
David Weinberg's Bio
Email David
Twitter: @SpeakerDave

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Andrea Sneiderman - ARRESTED!

Andrea Sneiderman was arrested on 8/2/12 for her alleged involvement in the murder of her husband.  Follow all my analysis on twitter @SpeakerDave and on the Dunwoody Murder Trial Blog

For inquiries email me:  David B. Weinberg, Esq.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What About Andrea Sneiderman?

After watching almost all of the Hemy Neuman trial, I would be surprised if Andrea Sneiderman is not charged with some crime (murder or one of its less severe variants, i.e. negligent homicide) given the substantial amount of circumstantial evidence and the strength of the DA's closing arguments regarding her complicity.  Of course, the DA can accuse Andrea of a crime if he thinks she committed it, but still exercise prosecutorial discretion not to bring charges if he doesn't think he has enough evidence to get a conviction.

I suspect Andrea has not been charged because the prosecution wanted to be able to put her on the stand and let her hang herself, which it looks like she did.  Andrea had two choices, testify or plead the 5th.  If she plead the 5th she would likely have been arrested, and her silence would have been used against her in a civil trial for wrongful death.   

This is something that many people don't know about the 5th Amendment right to remain silent.  In a criminal case, the Jury is not allowed to draw any negative inferences regarding your guilt if you choose not to testify.  The state has the burden to prove you guilty.  You do not have to get on the stand and explain why you are innocent.  You are presumed innocent.  However, in a civil lawsuit, such as one for wrongful death, when you assert the 5th Amendment right to remain silent, there is a presumption that what you did not say would have tended to incriminate you.  So, if Andrea had plead the 5th in response to any questions in the Hemy Neuman murder trial, her answers would be used against her in a civil case brought for the wrongful death of her husband. 

Why did the prosecution call Andrea Sneiderman a co-conspirator to murder if she has not been arrested and charged with the crime?  That's a question the Jury was most certainly asking after seeing the testimony.  The jury had to be wondering, "why isn't Andrea Sneiderman on trial?  It looks like she was involved.  She told people Rusty was shot a long time before the time she testified she learned he had been shot.  She knew the sketch looked like Hemy, but instead of going to the police, she tried to arrange a meeting with Hemy Neuman.  She said she didn't have an affair with Hemy Neuman, but there are so many emails and testimony that they had an affair.  Plus, she received $2 million in life insurance., etc?" 

To address these concerns and avoid the Jury thinking they had the wrong guy on trial, the prosecution had to tell the jury, "don't worry about Andrea. She is in trouble.  We'll deal with her.  However, your job, and this trial, is about a Hemy Neuman, a co-conspirator to that murder.  Put him in jail for life, and let us worry about Andrea Sneiderman.  She'll get what's coming to her."

Last evening, the AJC reported that Andrea retained two new attorneys: Doug Chalmers and Jennifer Little.  Here are their Attorney Profiles.  It is an interesting choice, indeed.  Chalmers is a specialist in "businesses, nonprofit organizations, political committees, elected officials, candidates, political parties, lobbyists and government bodies on federal and state election law, campaign finance, lobbying and ethics."  Jennifer Little "practices in the areas of federal and state political law with a specialty in litigation. Prior to joining the Political Law Group, Jennifer served as a Senior Assistant District Attorney in DeKalb County."  Perhaps it is Jennifer Little's experience trying murder cases in DeKalb County that attracted Andrea Sneiderman, and the big partner at the law firm is along for the ride?  Regardless, retaining new counsel indicates that Andrea also thinks she has significant legal problems.

I welcome your comments and questions.  Watching this trial has reminded me how inaccurate the media is on the law and the facts.  It is a pleasure to give you accurate explanations of how our justice system works. 

Anyway, I'm going to return to my regular job as a civil litigation attorney representing clients in all kinds of business and real estate disputes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Long v. Short Jury Deliberations - What does it mean?

Can you predict a verdict by how long the Jury deliberates? 

In my experience, you can never guess what a Jury is going to do.  You can only hope they see your case your way.  The conventional wisdom is that longer deliberations favor the prosecution.  This is because, typically, the Defense has asked the Jury to just throw the case out, i.e. find "Not Guilty" and we all go home.  Therefore, if the jury is spending time deliberating, they have rejected the option to throw out the case and go home.

However, the conventional wisdom is not applicable when there is an insanity defense.  The jury is not asked to simply throw the case out of Court.  It is asked to evaluate complex expert testimony and evidence and determine whether, in this case, Hemy Neuman, lacked the capacity to know right from wrong at the time he shot Rusty Sneiderman.  This is a complex analysis for any jury to complete. 

So, in this case, the Prosecution has asked the Jury to forgo the long complex analysis regarding the insanity defense, and just find Hemy Neuman guilty.  Longer deliberatoins, therefore, would indicate that the Jury is taking Hemy Neuman's mental illness seriously, and will likely determine (a) if he was in fact bipolar with psychoses and dilusions and (b) if the mental illness was so severe that it caused Hemy Neuman to lack the capacity to know right from wrong at the time of the murder.

Even going through this analysis, the Jury could answer "Yes" to (a), but "No" to (b), and the result would be Guilty but mentally ill.

In this case, I would only feel confident concluding that longer deliberations mean that the jury is taking their job seriously, and is giving attention to Hemy Neuman's mental state.  It cannot be said that longer deliberations, however, favor either side in this case. 

For inquiries or more information: 
(404) 844-5700
Twitter @SpeakerDave


Tuesday, March 13, 2012


What happens if Hemy Neuman is found Guilty but Mentally Ill?
Many people have asked me about this, so here is the statute in Georgia, O.C.G.A. § 17-7-131, which states in pertinent part:
(g)(1) Whenever a defendant is found guilty but mentally ill at the time of a felony or guilty but mentally retarded, or enters a plea to that effect that is accepted by the court, the court shall sentence him or her in the same manner as a defendant found guilty of the offense, except as otherwise provided in subsection (j) of this Code section. A defendant who is found guilty but mentally ill at the time of the felony or guilty but mentally retarded shall be committed to an appropriate penal facility and shall be evaluated then treated, if indicated, within the limits of state funds appropriated therefor, in such manner as is psychiatrically indicated for his or her mental illness or mental retardation.
(2) If at any time following the defendant's conviction as a guilty but mentally ill or guilty but mentally retarded offender it is determined that a temporary transfer to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is clinically indicated for his or her mental illness or mental retardation, then the defendant shall be transferred to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities pursuant to procedures set forth in regulations of the Department of Corrections and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. In all such cases, the legal custody of the defendant shall be retained by the Department of Corrections. Upon notification from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to the Department of Corrections that hospitalization at a Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities facility is no longer clinically indicated for his or her mental illness or mental retardation, the Department of Corrections shall transfer the defendant back to its physical custody and shall place such individual in an appropriate penal institution.
(h) If a defendant who is found guilty but mentally ill at the time of a felony or guilty but mentally retarded is placed on probation under the “State-wide Probation Act,” Article 2 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, the court may require that the defendant undergo available outpatient medical or psychiatric treatment or seek similar available voluntary inpatient treatment as a condition of probation. Persons required to receive such services may be charged fees by the provider of the services.


For inquiries or more information: 
(404) 844-5700
Twitter @SpeakerDave

Friday, March 9, 2012

Jury Instructions - Insanity at Time of Murder

Georgia Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions
Volume II: Criminal Cases
Fourth Edition
Intent-Related Defenses
Current through July 2011 updates
3.80.20 Insanity at Time of Act (Right and Wrong)
A person shall not be found guilty of a crime if, at the time of the act, omission, or negligence constituting the crime, that person did not have the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong in relation to the act, omission, or negligence.
In regard to the question of sanity or insanity at the time of the alleged criminal act, there is a test to determine whether the person is suffering such a degree of insanity that the person is not capable of committing a crime. The test is whether the insanity was such that it deprived that person of the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong in relation to the act, omission, or negligence that the person allegedly committed.
The perpetrator may be what is commonly referred to as insane--in a loose and general sense--yet in the eyes of the law, he/she may be sane and responsible so far as the act in question is concerned if, at the time of the commission of the alleged act, the accused had sufficient capacity to distinguish between the right and wrong of the particular act. This is a question of fact to be determined by you.
Mere weak-mindedness, mental abnormality, mild retardation, or mental state shown only by repeated unlawful or antisocial conduct, which does not amount to insanity, is not a defense to a crime if the person had the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong in relation to the alleged offense when the alleged offense was committed.
Insanity may be only a temporary malady, and if the accused did not have sufficient mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong with reference to the act alleged in this indictment at the time that act was committed, then the accused would not be criminally responsible. The test of criminal responsibility is the condition of the mind of the accused at the time of the commission of the alleged act.
If a person of unsound mind has intervals of understanding, during which that person can distinguish between the right and wrong of a particular act, then that person shall answer for that act if it was committed during those periods of understanding.
If, due to an affliction of the mind, a person’s mind is so impaired that the person is incapable of forming the intent to commit the act with which he/she is charged or to understand that a certain consequence would likely result from that act, then that person would not be criminally responsible for the act.
The defendant has the burden of proving insanity by a preponderance of evidence.a1
If you believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the act charged in this bill of indictment but also believe by a preponderance of evidence that at the time of the commission of this act, the defendant was mentally incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong regarding this particular act, then it would be your duty to acquit the defendant because of insanity.
I have already defined what “beyond a reasonable doubt” means. Now let me tell you what “preponderance of evidence” means. It means evidence on the issues involved that, while not enough to free the mind from a reasonable doubt, is yet sufficient to incline a reasonable and impartial mind to one side of the issue rather than to the other.
If you find the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity, then you must specify this in your verdict and your deliberations cease. In that event, the form of your verdict would be, “We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity.”
Should you find the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the crime, the defendant will be committed to a state mental health facility until such time, if ever, the court is satisfied that he/she should be released pursuant to law.

(Note: See 3.00.00, Affirmative Defense; Definition; Burden of Proof, for affirmative defenses generally.)

End of Document
© 2012 Thomson Reuters. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.