John Goodman DUI Trial Request for Trial Move Slammed

The trial of the billionaire executive of the Palm Beach Polo Club, John Goodman, for DUI, has been requested to be moved to another county, with his defense attorneys citing excessive negative publicity in Palm Beach. The state attorney’s office is apparently not impressed by the request and at this stage it is doubtful whether the request will be sanctioned.

Prosecutors claim that with a population of 1.3 million, the county has more than enough people to select a non-biased jury to help in making a decision at the trial.

Goodman was arrested after his car, a $200,000 Bentley, veered across the road at a Wellington intersection, now over three years ago and straight into the path of young engineering graduate, Scott Wilson. Mr. Wilson died when his Hyundai sedan was pushed off the road into a canal and he was drowned.

The case has already been reported on this website last week because of the wrongful death lawsuit against Goodman by the parents of Mr. Wilson. Goodman has “adopted” his girlfriend, 6 years his junior, in a move which has been alleged to have been designed to prevent his vast personal fortune being taken if the civil action against him is successful.

Goodman’s attorneys have stated that there has been an unprecedented amount of negative publicity about the case in Palm Beach, partly because of the wealth attached to Goodman’s estate, and it would be unfair for him to be tried in that county. It has been stated that it would be almost impossible to find a full jury of people who had not already been affected by media and other coverage of the story in the county.

Goodman’s attorneys had made the same request before his first trial in 2012, but this was quashed at the time and he was then found guilty of DUI and ordered to spend 16 years in a state jail. The trial was then reopened earlier this year when misconduct had been alleged by one of the original jurors, 70 year old Dennis DeMartin.

Another issue altogether has also surfaced. Goodman’s Bentley was reported to have malfunctioned at the time of the accident. The defense attorneys representing the billionaire have apparently been incensed that the vehicle has not been kept as evidence in the retrial.

Assuming that a venue for the trial is decided on at the end of this week by Judge Colbath, the retrial will be held in January next year.

Most people are not billionaires and their DUI arrests rarely reach the front pages of the national and local newspapers as well as taking up air time on the radio and TV. However, their constitutional rights to a fair trial are just the same as John Goodman’s. If you have just been arrested for DUI in Tampa or anywhere in Hillsborough County or anywhere else in Florida, it is vital that you get an aggressive and dedicated DUI attorney to help you defend yourself against the charge.

If you think that when you are arrested for DUI, you have to accept being convicted, then this is far from being the case. There have been many situations in which people have been arrested for DUI and have wound up with a criminal conviction for something which they did not do. In other cases, they have been alleged to have been over the state limit using unreliable or misleading data. In some situations, the protocol for arresting a DUI suspect is not followed properly. In others, a chemical test for DUI is taken so long after the time the suspect had been driving that it is hard to justify using the test results to determine whether the driver was actually over the limit at the time he or she was driving.


Was Adoption a Ruse to Protect DUI Defendant’s Fortune?

Few ordinary citizens who have been charged with DUI would have the options available like a billionaire. The case of John Goodman, a man whose fortune derives from his family’s Texas air conditioning business and is worth millions of dollars, is certainly unusual. He has a DUI charge to be decided by the court as well as a civil action against him by the surviving family members of a man who was killed when Goodman crashed into his car in Wellington, Florida over three years ago.

The accident was alleged to have happened as a result of Goodman being DUI at the time and he was formally charged with DUI manslaughter as well as a number of other charges. The charge could mean a jail sentence of anything up to 30 years if he is convicted. However, the billionaire seems to be more worried about losing part of his vast fortune if the wrongful death lawsuit against him is successful.

The accident happened when Goodman was driving his $200,000 Bentley in February 2010. The Bentley veered across the road and struck the car belonging to Scott Patrick Wilson. Mr. Wilson died as a result of drowning after his Hyundai sedan ended up in a canal. It is his parents who are pursuing the current wrongful death suit against Mr. Goodman.

Goodman could stand to lose much of his personal assets if the lawsuit is successful. He has been accused by Wilson’s parents of resorting to an unusual tactic. He has “adopted” his own girlfriend, who is only 6 years his junior. According to his lawyer, the adoption is all about securing Goodman’s estate and allotting assets more evenly amongst the children belonging to him and his girlfriend. However, the dead man’s parents feel that the adoption could rob them of a significant part of the wrongful death compensation payment as the adopted girlfriend would be handed at least a third of Goodman’s assets.

They have appealed to the judge involved in the case to consider the portion of Goodman’s assets which will be awarded in trust to the girlfriend to be part of the total which could be available to pay the compensation settlement.

Whatever the outcome of the case, the results could still be very serious for Mr. Goodman. Losing the court case against the DUI charge would mean that he could spend a considerable time in jail as well as pay a large fine and he is unlikely to see his license returned any time soon.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Tampa and you are not a billionaire, then you will certainly still need an experienced Tampa DUI lawyer to help you defend you against the DUI charge. The charges against Goodman in this case were particularly serious because his actions are alleged to have led to a fatality. However, even a DUI charge in which nobody has been injured can lead to severe penalties.

Not every DUI arrest is clear cut. There are often situations in which a person is arrested for DUI, even if they were not over the legal limit when they were actually driving. In fact, it is quite possible for a person to be arrested for DUI even if they have never been drinking. This is because the tests used to determine DUI can be seriously flawed or appear to show a person was over the 0.08% limit because of contaminated equipment, or because a poorly trained officer used the equipment. There are even DUI charges laid against some people based purely on the subjective observations of officers who have stopped a DUI suspect on the roadside.

DUI arrests do not always lead to a conviction. The prosecution is legally bound to prove that someone was actually over the legal limit at the time they were driving. By using an experienced DUI attorney, you stand a chance to fight the DUI charge against you and you may be able to get the charge dismissed altogether or have the penalties imposed reduced if you are finally convicted.