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Appeals court refers 'prayer-healing' couple to higher court

A state appeals court ruled Tuesday, April 1, that it will not answer the question of whether to grant new trials to Dale and Leilani Neumann for their separate convictions of second-degree reckless homicide in the death of their 11-year-old daughter, Kara, who died in 2008 from treatable complications from diabetes.

The Neumanns made national headlines after they were accused of praying over the girl instead of getting her lifesaving medical help.

Both were sentenced to six months in jail as part of 10 years of probation. The jail time has been delayed while the case is being appealed.

Marathon County Circuit Judge Vincent Howard denied them new trials last year.

In seeking new trials, Leilani said her attorney was ineffective, and jurors did not take the state law which allows faith-healing into account. Dale said jurors in his trial could have been biased after learning that his wife was convicted of the same charges earlier.

The Third District Appellate Court said the State Supreme Court should be study the facts and make the decision. That's because the case of Dale and Leilani Neumann is the first of its kind in Wisconsin - similar cases could come up again - and courts in other states have mixed opinions on the subject.