Neuman Case: Judge Rules for State on Psychologist's Evaluation
Psychologist will have to hand over records from consultation with Neuman last year
One psychologist's evaluation of Hemy Neuman is now open to the DeKalb County District Attorneys office, according to an order filed Wednesday in the case against Neuman.
Neuman, who is facing murder charges in the killing of Rusty Sneiderman on Nov. 18, 2010, was evaluated by Dr. Peter Thomas last May, shortly after Neuman hired his defense attorneys.
Thomas was hired by Neuman's attorneys, Bob Rubin and Douglas Peters, to do the evaluation.
In September Neuman entered a plea of insanity.
With the insanity plea as the focal point of Neuman's upcoming trial, the state argued last week that Thomas' evaluation should be made available.
“We have no intention of violating any of his rights or to seek any privileged information,” argued Assistant District Attorney Don Geary. “We know the doctor performed an evaluation. We want to know what the result of the examination was and what his opinion was concerning the sanity of the defendant on the date of the offense.”
Neuman's attorneys argued that Thomas was hired by them, and therefore, his evaluation was protected under the attorney/client privilege.
“In our case, Dr. Thomas was hired by Mr. [Douglas] Peters and myself as a consultant, to help us understand the mental health issues in this case,” Rubin said. “He worked under our direction and supervision. He met with us and discussed the case with us and discussed with us clearly privileged information. It was understood at the time Dr. Thomas was consulted with that he would not be called to testify in this case.”
Judge Gregory Adams granted the state's motion Wednesday. He will first view the material to protect any part of the evaluation that is protected under the attorney client privilege.
"Dr. Thomas is then ordered to transmit all records in his possession concerning his evaluation(s) of the defendant to the court for an in camera review by the end of the next business day from the time of service by the State of this order," the order says. "Any records received by the Court, or any portion of records receive [sic] by the Court, which do not contain attorney-client communications, will thereafter be turned over to the State and the defendant."
Neuman's trial starts on Feb. 13.