Jury selection for John Goodman’s retrial is scheduled to begin on October 6th. That could be delayed because the defense appealed the trial judge’s ruling concerning certain pieces of evidence. Judge Jeffrey Colbath granted Goodman a new trial because of juror misconduct. Goodman is currently on house arrest on $4 million bail awaiting retrial.
Goodman juror Dennis DeMartin was convicted earlier this year on two contempt charges stemming from his actions in the case. DeMartin, 71, is appealing. DeMartin’s charges stemmed from his failure to inform the court that his ex-wife had been arrested on DUI. He also conducted a drinking experiment before deliberations to determine how impaired Goodman was. Jurors are supposed to determine their verdict based completely on the testimony at trial to avoid any biased, irrelevant, and inaccurate “evidence” from affecting their deliberations. There were also legitimate questions as to whether DeMartin lied to get on to the jury out of a craving for fame and fortune. DeMartin did achieve notoriety in the case and earned some money after he wrote a 33-page memoir detailing the jury’s decision to convict the defendant titled Believing in the Truth. Ironically, the book also revealed his inappropriate drinking experiment and how he lied about his ex-wife’s DUI during jury selection.
DeMartin always denied using his experiment to decide the verdict, but defense attorneys questioned why he would have done it at all if it weren’t for that end? They called DeMartin a “stealth juror”.
Goodman received a new trial due to the “cumulative effects of DeMartin’s antics [which] transformed an imperfect but fair trial into a constitutionally impermissible [one],” the judge wrote in his ruling.
Colbath used a three part test designed by the Florida Supreme Court to decide if Goodman got a new trial. He ruled that DeMartin failed to disclose important information that was relevant, purposefully concealed the information, and the defense was not at fault.
The juror misconduct, “denied the state, the defense, and the citizens…of a fair trial.”
John Goodman, founder of International Polo Club Palm Beach and heir to a Texas air conditioning and heating fortune, was convicted in a televised trial and sentenced to 16 years in prison after he killed Scott Wilson, 23, in a February 12, 2010 car accident.