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Opinion: Attorney Analyzes Sneiderman's Upcoming Bond Hearing

Several standards are at play; including: Does she pose a flight risk or create a danger to the community?

What will happen at the Andrea Sneiderman Bond Hearing?

Shortly after Andrea Sneiderman's August 2, 2012, arrest, Judge Gregory Adams scheduled Sneiderman's bond hearing for August 21, 2012. Andrea Sneiderman has been sitting in the DeKalb County jail since the arrest.  This post addresses the bond hearing prior to its occurrence.

First, I have received several inquiries from people wondering why Sneiderman's bond hearing was set three weeks after her arrest instead of within 48 hours or some shorter time.

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In Georgia, there is a procedure by which someone arrested for certain crimes may be held without bail. In those circumstances, a bail hearing need only be granted within 30 days of the arrest. It appears that Andrea Sneiderman was held without bail, and her bail hearing was set within 30 days of her arrest. See O.C.G.A. §17-6-1.

The next issues are what is a bond hearing, and what can happen at a bond hearing? A bond hearing is the procedure by which the Court determines whether someone is “too risky” to be released into the public. Georgia statute 17-16-1(e) provides guidelines for the Court:
A court shall be authorized to release a person on bail if the court finds that the person:

  1. Poses no significant risk of fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when required;
  1. Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, to the community, or to any property in the community;
  1. Poses no significant risk of committing any felony pending trial; and
  1. Poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.

Notice that the statute requires the Court to find that all four requirements be met. There is a rich history of case law providing further guidance to the Court regarding when to permit bail. For example:

  1. The state/DA has the burden of persuasion by a preponderance of evidence to show that Andrea Sneiderman is not entitled to pretrial release. Constantino v. Warren, 285 Ga. 851, 853 (2009).
  1. A defendant who has filed a petition seeking release on bail has the initial burden of showing, by means of evidence indicating roots in the community, employment, that the defendant does not pose a significant risk of fleeing, threatening the community, committing another crime, or intimidating a witness. The defendant's guilt or innocence of the underlying charge is not an issue at the bail hearing, especially since the defendant enters the proceeding cloaked with a presumption of innocence. Cowards v. State, 266 Ga. 191, 193 (1996).
  1. The amount of bail to be assessed in each criminal case is generally within the sound discretion of the trial judge. When fixing the amount of bail, the judge is to consider chiefly the probability that the accused, if freed, will appear at trial; other factors to be considered include the accused's ability to pay, the seriousness of the offense, and the accused's character and reputation. Spence v. State, 252 Ga. 338, 341 (1984).

To arrive at its decision regarding bail and pretrial release, the Court holds the bond hearing, and both the prosecution and the defense will be permitted to call witnesses and present other evidence in an attempt to influence the Court. Let's look at each requirement from the statute, and opine on the possible outcomes.

  1. Poses no significant risk of fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when required.

This is the primary question whether Andrea Sneiderman will appear at trial; is she a flight risk? Andrea Sneiderman's attorneys are likely to argue that Sneiderman has been a long-time resident of Georgia, was employed here, has friends and family here, her assets have been frozen here, she does not have the means to flee, her kids live here and that she is not a flight risk.

The DA is likely to argue that Sneiderman put her house up for sale and no longer shows an intent to remain in Georgia.  She has lived with her parents for the past six months, is currently unemployed (this is an assumption of mine), was arrested in Putnam county, is originally from Ohio, has the financial means to flee the jurisdiction and is otherwise a flight risk. Given what we know, and without the benefit of additional evidence and witnesses that may be presented at the hearing, I think it is likely that the Court will find that Andrea Sneiderman is not a flight risk.

  1. Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, to the community, or to any property in the community.

I am aware of little evidence that Andrea Sneiderman is a threat to persons or property in the community. She does not have a criminal record, appears to not have been in any trouble before.

Perhaps Sneiderman will call friends and family to testify on her behalf. It would be interesting to see who they call. If I were the defense, I would call Andy Lipman, because Rusty was one of Andy's best friends, and Andy's character and truthfulness is unassailable. As far as character witnesses go, Andy Lipman is the best I know in this case. You can see Andy's blog here.

If the DA is going to argue Sneiderman is a threat, he will concentrate this effort with regard to witnesses, as described in #4 below.  Nevertheless, I think the likely outcome is that Sneiderman is not a significant threat.

  1. Poses no significant risk of committing any felony pending trial.

You may be thinking that elements 1 and 2 overlap with 3 – and you would be right, in this case. Thus, the same evidence used to argue Nos. 1 and 2, would likely be used to establish that Sneiderman is not a significant risk of committing a felony pending her trial.

  1. Poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.

Here is where the proverbial rubber meets the road.  This element will likely be the focus of the DA's argument that Andrea Sneiderman should not be released on bail.

The local media has briefly mentioned the obvious argument here: During the Hemy Neuman trial, Andrea Sneiderman allegedly threatened Shayna Citron, a witness. I have heard other reports that Andrea Sneiderman visited the witness room during the Neuman trial and made witnesses uncomfortable. Citron is likely to testify as she testified, outside the presence of the jury during the Neuman trial, that she felt threatened by Andrea Sneiderman.

Furthermore, usually the spouse of a murder victim is permitted to remain in court during trial.  However, Judge Gregory Adams barred Andrea Sneiderman from not just the Court room, but from the entire COURT HOUSE as a result of her outrageous behavior.

The DA is going to hammer Andrea Sneiderman with this evidence, and I would suspect the state has already interviewed the witnesses from the Hemy Neuman trial to determine if Andrea Sneiderman made any contact with them during or since the Hemy Neuman trial.

If so, expect them to testify at the bond hearing.

Andrea Sneiderman's one contact with Citron may not be enough to convince the Judge by a preponderance of evidence that Sneiderman is a significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the admission of justice, but, Sneiderman is going to have to address this evidence to avoid staying in jail pending her trial.

As a reminder, the Judge need only answer one of these four questions in the affirmative in order to deny bail. If the Judge permits Andrea Sneiderman to be released after her bond hearing, here are the possible types of release she may receive:

  1. Release on Own Recognizance – Sneiderman will be released on her promise to return for hearings and trial without posting any property or assets.  This is extremely unlikely.
  2. Unsecured Bond – Sneiderman will be released with the promise to pay a fine if she does not show up at trial. This is an unlikely outcome.
  3. Security Bond – Sneiderman will be released upon the posting of a bond in the amount set by the Court , commensurate with the ability to pay and to secure attendance at trial. The bond is put up by a surety (bail bondman), after Sneiderman pays 10-12% of bail amount. E.g. If bail is set at $2,000,000, then Sneiderman has to pay bondsman $200,000. If Sneiderman doesn't show up at trial, then she owes the entire bond amount to bondsman. Sureties determine the flight risk of Sneiderman and may require collateral (house, other property) as security.  This is a likely outcome.
  4. Cash Bond – Sneiderman will be released upon the posting of a cash bond in the amount set by the Court. Sneiderman comes up with all the cash in this scenario instead of using a surety. If Sneiderman does not have all the cash perhaps her parents give it to her as a loan, gift, or advance on inheritance?  This is also a likely outcome.

There has been question whether Andrea Sneiderman can afford bail given that a reported $2.3 million in assets has been frozen under the State's RICO statute. However, Andrea Sneiderman reportedly had an additional $600,000 in cash and liquid assets, and her parents/family may also be able to help her  financially. The Judge should consider Sneiderman's ability to pay when setting bail.

So, I hope you will tune in to the bond hearing, and tweet or email me your questions and comments. Remember, Rusty Sneiderman lost his life, and our justice system, with all its flaws, is still the best system on Earth at determining the truth.

For inquiries or more information:  Winter Capriola Zenner,LLC Email David Weinberg (404) 844-5700 Twitter @SpeakerDave

Anne Winfield August 19, 2012 at 10:40 PM
I am an attorney who watched the NEUMAN trial and Andrea's testimony in particular. I believe she is innocent and does not deserve this persecution. She has good lawyers who will show the public she is just a young woman who was unlucky enough to go to work for a man who became obsessed with her and thought he could have her by putting her husband out of the picture. I really hope her lawyers are able to get the truth out.
shane grey August 19, 2012 at 10:57 PM
do you want to explain how andrea knew rusty was shot before she was told at the hospital? hemy obsessed with her? so she holds hands with him and gets adjoining hotel rooms? txting him constantly? the truth will come out and andrea will be in prison. justice for rusty.
shane grey August 19, 2012 at 11:19 PM
she goes to a dance club with hemy and dances by herself on the dance floor. why? because she is a trained dancer..and then hemy joins her and they dance together.. her performance in court was one of arrogance and the DA let her talk. poor unlucky andrea.. A grand jury heard the evidence the state has and she was arrested..even her best friend said she lied.
jimmie August 19, 2012 at 11:35 PM
While I wouldn't lose sleep if she snorted away for a year in prison, I believe if she hasn't tried to contact anyone else that Judge Adams is likely to release her on bond of $1MM or less. IF she did aid Hemy in any way, then I hope she gets earthly and divine justice!
Steven Richards August 20, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Your an idiot Anne. Go find a job watching soap opera, you wasted your time getting a law degree.
WILLIAM MCMICHEN August 20, 2012 at 03:31 AM
She is guilty and a money hungry woman. Sneaky !!!!! Hope she does life!!!!!
WILLIAM MCMICHEN August 20, 2012 at 03:33 AM
She planned this crap MONEY HUNGRY BITCH
WILLIAM MCMICHEN August 20, 2012 at 03:37 AM
U ARE SO RIGHT who would threaten her best friend THERE IS PROOF SHE IS GUILTY!!!!!!!
WILLIAM MCMICHEN August 20, 2012 at 03:38 AM
She needs life or worse. If u know what I mean
WILLIAM MCMICHEN August 20, 2012 at 03:39 AM
I AGREE WITH U
Victoria D. Escobar August 20, 2012 at 06:15 AM
I can't understand why she let a (STALKER) come around her house and then she was so into going out of town with her stalker... She's a liar. I never wish anything cold to happen to anyone , But this woman don't deserve to be happy for the rest of her life. Poor Rusty and his children. He woke up that day to take his little boy to school not knowing that that would be his last day here on earth. RIP Rusty. God be with you.
Abdellah August 20, 2012 at 08:16 AM
This women destroy a lot of life's, her husband die, her boyfriend will spend the rest of his life in prison, her kids will grow up without their father, the father, mother, brother and sister in law lose a member of their family ..etc why? If she was smart enought to plan for this why she didn't think about all that
HamBurger August 20, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Critics: Dunwoody police took kid-gloves approach to Andrea Sneiderman http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/critics-dunwoody-police-took-1502222.html
its me Tori August 20, 2012 at 04:17 PM
you cant be serious. Im no attorney but did you really watch the trial???
Pam August 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I thought the article was excellent and explained the possibilities and potential outcome
Eddie Dante August 20, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I think you are right, Anne.....so at least you have one other person who actually "listened" to the evidence presented at trial. All of the testimony of an affair was heresay from witnesses who had spoken to Hemy, and Andrea's friend did testify that Andrea told her there was no affair...just didn't believe her. But of course there was no opportunity for Andrea to cross examine or bring forth her own witnesses. At best, this is an extreme case of overreach on the part of the DA. At worst, this is a vile witch hunt perpetuating lies driven by the DA for his own personnal gain (see the WSBTV story from 8/10 with former prosecutor Ken Hodges if you don't think this is a very real possiblity). Once Andrea finally has an opportunity to tell her side of the story, we will know which one is true. And if it is the latter, the DA should be held accountable.
Andrea DeLuca August 20, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Will a live feed be provided for the bond hearing
shane grey August 20, 2012 at 05:48 PM
hey i listened to the evidence.. i specially like the part when they asked her why she didnt call rusty. and she screwed up her face and said "why would i call rusty"? but she dialed up hemy. this is no witch hunt. they just went after hemy first. the grand jury found sufficient evidence to charge her. so everyone is lying except andrea. love the kiss and threat she gives shayna at trial. and she was in the witness room trying to talk to witnesses. cant wait to hear what andrea has to say. justice for rusty
Larry August 20, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Glad the judge allowed her testimony to be recorded and now TRUtv showing all the testimony of Andrea Sneiderman. See for yourself the truth!
noor le August 20, 2012 at 07:12 PM
That's what I like to know also, and can we see it online? I hate In Session, too many talking heads and commercials.
noor le August 20, 2012 at 07:18 PM
You're hoping to get the truth out of a liar, that being Andrea. Good luck with that! A man who became obssed with "a young woman", yet she enver complained about her "stalker". Yet she went on "bussiness" trip with her "stalker" shared wine and hotel rooms. Right!
Sue Thompson August 20, 2012 at 10:00 PM
The article was very informative. Regarding others' comments. Seems to me that law enforcement and the courts have done a great job. The shooter is in jail for life and Andrea has been arrested. A jury will now decide her fate. Your angry words may make you feel better, but I don't see how they advance justice. By the way, I think a jury will find her guilty.
shane grey August 21, 2012 at 03:21 AM
The murderer of an innocent man makes me angry. Rusty was gunned down in broad daylight. Never thought my comments would advance justice. A grand jury believed there was enough to charge her.Andrea did herself in with her performance in court.and yes now a jury will decide her fate.
Sue Thompson August 21, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Shane, my above response was not prompted by what you wrote. Of course murder of an innocent person is cause for anger. But some on this blog and in other media outlets seem to be directing their anger toward the police , DA, and courts who are working to bring justice for Rusty. Rusty's killer is in jail for life and Andrea is awaiting trial for her part in it. I'm thankful for that. I think those who work on Rusty's behalf are doing their jobs very well. I suggest we thank them for their thoroughness and team work.
Fred Paprin August 22, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Clearly, Ms. Winfield is someone who looks for the best in everyone. Mrs. Schneiderman is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. That said I don't which trial Ms. Winfield followed. What about the testimony of Andrea's best friend which completely contradicted her testimony? And what of Andrea's "mafia like" kiss on her friends lips right after the friends damning testimony? Mrs. Schneiderman's actions belies her presumed "innocence". It takes two to tango and while Mrs. Schneiderman may be complicit in the murder that doesn't by any means make Hemy Neuman "less guilty". Fred Paprin
Lynn August 26, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Anne, ask for a refund.

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