The retrial of International Polo Club Chairman John Goodman for DUI has been prolonged because of accusations over the suitability of a previous juror. It has now been suggested that because of adverse publicity over the trial in Palm Beach County, the retrial may take place in Tampa or another location in Florida. A senior judge in Palm Beach, Justice Colbath, denied the trial move last Friday unless suitable jurors cannot be found in the county.
Goodman is on house arrest at present, pending the retrial. He was originally sentenced in 2012 for DUI manslaughter after the car he was driving in veered into the path of an engineering student at the University of Florida, Scott Wilson. Wilson’s vehicle was pushed off the road and into a swamp. He was drowned and died as a result of the accident. Goodman was alleged to have had a blood alcohol level of twice the allowed limit of 0.08% and was sentenced to 16 years in jail.
A retrial was ordered after one of the jurors in the original trial that found Goodman guilty was accused of misconduct by the defendant’s defense attorneys. 70 year old Dennis DeMartin was alleged to have failed to reveal that his ex-wife had been arrested for DUI in the pre-trial jury selection process. If this allegation was true, then it could mean that DeMartin was in contempt of court, as he would have lied about his suitability as a juror in a DUI case and hence the original trial would have been invalid.
The retrial has been delayed because DeMartin’s suitability has not yet been decided. Judge Colbath has delayed the hearing into DeMartin’s conduct until an assessment of his mental state has been made. Meanwhile, there has been a push from Goodman’s defense attorneys to have the retrial moved to another county. They have contended that a fair trial is impossible in Palm Beach County because of the huge amount of publicity about the case. They have said that the likelihood of finding impartial jurors would now be too difficult.
Judge Colbath has since ruled that the request for a change in county venue is inadmissible on the grounds that the county should be able to furnish suitable jurors. However, he has stated that if suitable jurors are not forthcoming that it will then be possible to change the trial location. Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Ocala are the possible alternatives for the retrial.
The Deputy State Attorney has said that nothing has been satisfactory so far about the Goodman case. He said that it was unlikely that there would be any difficulties finding suitable jurors from within Palm Beach County and was sure that the retrial would take place there.
The case does demonstrate the necessity for giving a DUI defendant a fair trial. This is everyone’s constitutional right. If you have been arrested for DUI in Tampa, it is highly unlikely that there will be anything like the publicity about your arrest as there has been for John Goodman. However, the lack of publicity is no reason why you shouldn’t be granted exactly the same privileges as the head of the International Polo Club. In any DUI trial, the prosecution has to prove beyond any doubt that you were guilty of the offense you have been charged with.
An experienced and aggressive Tampa DUI lawyer will work on your behalf to defend you against a DUI charge that could lead to serious and long lasting consequences for you and your family. DUI is a very serious charge in this state. It is not treated in the same way as an ordinary traffic offense, like speeding. For a start, a DUI conviction will mean that you have a criminal record and this, more than anything else, will affect nearly every aspect of your future life. A skillful Tampa DUI defense attorney will be able to examine every aspect of your DUI arrest and search for inconsistencies and inaccuracies that can help to reduce your sentence or get your case dismissed altogether.