Anyone who isn’t a fan of jury duty would definitely not want any part of the panel in the now notorious John Goodman DUI manslaughter case. Florida defense attorneys are prepping to sound off on behalf of the Houston millionaire who stands accused of vehicular homicide. It is rumored that his possible Palm Beach County retrial could last for three to four weeks on end. The jurists will most likely be sequestered and possibly pressured to agree upon a verdict.
As it stands, the Florida tycoon who was originally found guilty and sentenced to 16 years behind bars has been granted a retrial. Many of the details concerning the retrial have intentionally been obscured from the public eye.
What We Know Thus Far
John Goodman’s DUI defense attorney accused 69 year old juror Dennis DeMartin of withholding information in order to participate in the original trial. The fact that Mr. DeMartin’s ex-wife had been convicted of a DUI was never disclosed by DeMartin at the time of his selection and was only revealed in an all telling novel the juror scribed after the guilty verdict was made. John Goodman’s defense attorney has also implied that the juror had an ulterior motive when he joined the panel and sees the novel as further proof that a bitter ex-husband of a DUI offender simply wanted publicity and a guilty verdict. The Florida court claims that the lie the jurist told transformed a fair trial into a “constitutionally impermissible proceeding”.
More Secrecy the Second Time Around
Due to intense publicity from Florida’s numerous multimedia sources, Palm Beach County Judge Jeffrey Colbath is making every possible attempt to shut the rumor mill down until next week. He has reportedly mused over bringing in jurists from out of town with Jacksonville and Tampa being cited as possible alternate locations for uncovering impartial jurists. While Colbath admits that finding local, impartial jurists poses a bit of a challenge, he has openly refused to make any efforts to relocate the entire trial to Tampa. Based on his new approach towards secrecy, he might have refused these requests in order to keep the public in the dark.
The blanket of mystery doesn’t end at the jury selection this time around. The defense also mentioned that the car allegedly involved in the incident was released, resold and altered without court permission. Mr. Goodman’s defense attorneys claim the vehicle was to blame for the fatal event that claimed the life of 23 year old Scott Patrick Wilson and that their client, Mr. Goodman experienced an unforeseeable vehicle malfunction just before the collision occurred. They claim that alterations and the removal of the vehicle in question hindered their ability to expand upon this defense. In short, most of the evidence presented in the original case is now being called into question. This means more secrecy, more scrutiny and the possibility of a lengthier trial.
Can a Lengthier Trial Raise the Chances of a Guilty Verdict?
Goodman’s DUI defense attorneys claim that using a sequestered jury could put the jurists in favor of the prosecution. Colbath, on the other hand, claims that both Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman were tried under sequestered juries who sided with the defense. High profile cases appear to be a dream come true for jurists like Dennis DeMartin who wish to profit post trial and an absolute nightmare for unbiased participants who would prefer to spend their month at home in their own beds.
The Initial Accusation
In the madness and secrecy surrounding the Goodman trial, it’s easy to forget what he was originally accused of to begin with. As a refresher for those who have been following the case and a summary for those who are unfamiliar with the details, multimillionaire John Goodman was accused of crashing his 2007 Bentley convertible and taking the life of a 23 year old in the process. Afterwards, he allegedly fled the scene of the crime. Those are serious accusations and the fact that Goodman is a high profile citizen shouldn’t hinder his right to a fair trial.