December 13, 2013

Preschool shooting: Sneiderman lawyer seeks bond

By KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press

DECATUR — A lawyer for a woman convicted of lying during the investigation of her husband’s killing outside a suburban Atlanta preschool urged a judge Thursday to release her on bond.

Lawyer Brian Steel argued during a bond hearing that Andrea Sneiderman is not a flight risk and that her request for a new trial has merit. Prosecutor Anna Cross countered that Sneiderman is a flight risk and said there’s no basis for a new trial.

Cross gave the judge a proposed order, and Steel said he would submit one by Friday. DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams said he would consider both proposed orders before ruling.

Sneiderman’s husband, Rusty Sneiderman, was gunned down in November 2010 outside a preschool where he had just dropped off their young son in an affluent suburb north of Atlanta. Andrea Sneiderman’s boss, Hemy Neuman was convicted in the killing but found to be mentally ill.

Prosecutors said Andrea Sneiderman lied to police and to a jury about a romantic relationship between her and Neuman. She has consistently denied any such relationship.

Snneiderman was convicted in August on 9 of 13 counts against her, including perjury and making false statements. Adams sentenced her to serve five years in jail with credit for about a year of house arrest.

Sneiderman’s lawyers filed a motion for a new trial shortly after her conviction and also filed a request for bond pending appeal. Steel said he is waiting for the trial transcript to be ready to amend his motion for a new trial.

More than two dozen people showed up Thursday to support Andrea Sneiderman, including her parents, and Steel said several of them were prepared to testify on her behalf. Among them, he said, were a company CEO who was prepared to offer her a part-time job and a rabbi who would give her a volunteer position.

Steel said Sneiderman meets the four factors to qualify for bond while the request for a new trial is pending: that she’s not a substantial flight risk; that she’s not a danger to others in the community; that she wouldn’t be likely to intimidate witnesses or otherwise interfere with the workings of justice; and that the appeal isn’t frivolous or being used as a delay tactic.

Both the defense and prosecution agreed she’s not a danger to others and wouldn’t interfere with justice.

Sneiderman reads to her daughter by phone every night from jail and video chats with her children a few times a week, Steel said. If she were released, there is no way she would flee because she and her children are so involved in the community, he said.

Furthermore, she didn’t flee while on bond before her trial, during the trial or while awaiting the jury verdict and she could have, so she wouldn’t flee now when it would mean a heavier sentence and the possibility of losing custody of her children, Steel said.

Sneiderman’s trial lawyers raised concerns about certain prosecution claims and witnesses before and during the trial, and those objections laid the groundwork for an appeal, Steel said. Sneiderman isn’t seeking a delay because she wants to get this over with, he said.

Cross argued that Sneiderman’s situation is substantially different now than it was when she was on bond before her trial, noting that she is now a convicted felon and is in prison. There is no reason to believe she would consider the possibility of being caught and the consequences that would entail when making a decision to flee, Cross said. Sneiderman has motivation to flee and the means to do it, she said.

Sneiderman also hasn’t accepted any responsibility, maintains that she was improperly indicted and would likely try to evade the law by fleeing, Cross said.

Sneiderman’s lawyers also have failed to establish any error in the trial that would prove that their request for a new trial isn’t frivolous and isn’t just a tactic to delay, Cross said.