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Tainted Verdicts: When Juror’s Decide to Take Investigations into Their Own Hands

It was over two years ago that an inebriated Polo-Tycoon named John Goodman crashed his Bentley into a Hyundai driven by a 23-year-old man named Scott Wilson. Wilson ended up sinking to the bottom of a nearby canal, strapped into the front seat of his car. Goodman walked away from the accident… literally. Details of the accident came out during his trial in early May of this year (2012). After having a number of alcoholic beverages earlier in the night, Goodman decided to try his hand at driving. And after his crash pushed Scott Wilson’s car into the nearby canal, he decided to try his hand at fleeing the accident. He didn’t try to help the other driver; he didn’t call the authorities. He ran, but he didn’t get far.

A blood-alcohol test found him at twice the legal limit just three hours after the tragic crash. It was one of the key pieces of evidence in the DUI manslaughter case. John Goodman was convicted and sentenced to a sixteen-year incarceration; but it looks as if there may be a new trial as a result of jury misconduct. Turns out that a juror named Dennis DeMartin decided to take investigating the accident into his own hands. After being instructed that only the evidence offered in court be used in coming to his decision, DeMartin conducted an alcohol consumption test the night before the jurors handed down their verdict. This normally would not lead to a mistrial, but DeMartin may not have kept his findings to himself. In situations where a juror takes investigation into his or her own hands and then shares the findings with the other jurors, Florida courts have found reason to grant defendants new trials. It’s very possible that John Goodman will be getting yet another chance. But even if Goodman gets a new trial it’s not likely that he’ll be getting off the hook. With a mountain of evidence against him, it’s likely that Goodman’s lawyers are just delaying the inevitable. As a DUI victim attorney, this case has been well followed in our blog section. The egregious actions of John Goodman received national attention.

Driving under the influence is never acceptable. John Goodman is facing a significant portion of the rest of his life in prison do to reckless behavior. And that’s on top of the $46 million settlement he agreed to as a result of the civil wrongful death case brought against him by Scott Wilson’s family. As Florida Personal Injury lawyers, the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has experience bringing suits against negligent drunk drivers. We take victim’s right seriously and will fight to ensure that you get the justice you deserve.  If you’ve been physically injured in an accident resulting from the negligence exhibited by a drunk driver, call your injury law attorneys at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today for a free consultation and case evaluation.