An article on ABAJournal.com discussed how one Georgia Court was recently forced to answer a grim question: can a lawyer representing a murder defendant’s wife be required to testify in the husband’s criminal trial? A judge must now answer that question after hearing arguments regarding a motion to quash a witness subpoena for the wife’s attorney Esther Panitch.
Though it’s still the case that any information gathered by Panitch for the purpose of providing legal advice will remain confidential due to attorney-client privilege, the husband’s counsel argues Panitch has material information separate from her representation of the wife.
Just what exactly this material information is has not yet been revealed. Panitch originally acted as divorce attorney and now serves as advisor to the wife for the murder trial of her husband, Hemy Zvi Neuman.
Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams of DeKalb County Superior Court heard arguments on the witness subpoena issue just last week. One issue Adams heard concerned whether the prosecution must give more concerning the information Panitch may possess.
Her attorney and business partner, James R. Hodes, argued that Panitch does not have any relevant evidence concerning the murder case of her client’s husband and argued that subpoenaing her as a witness interferes with her ability to counsel her client effectively.
Husband’s attorney said that he anticipates “calling her as a witness, not because we are trying to get to information that she talked to Ms. Neuman about, but because we think she has independent facts that may be important in the case,” adding: “There is a legitimate basis for this subpoena, and I want to hold out the possibility that we may need to call her."
The case revolves around a murder allegedly committed by Henry Neuman, in his late 40s. He is accused of killing Russell “Rusty” Sneiderman, 36, in November 2010, after the Sneiderman dropped off his 2-year-old son at an Atlanta-area day care center. Neuman was the boss of Sneiderman’s wife, and investigators say the two had been having an affair.
If you or someone you know is facing such a stressful divorce, you need the help of an experienced South Carolina family law attorney to guide you through the complicated process.
Source: “Can Divorce Lawyer for Defendant’s Wife Be Subpoenaed in Murder Case? Defense Counsel Says Yes,” by Martha Neil, published at ABAJournal.com.
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