John Goodman’s automobile was involved in an accident resulting in the death of the second car’s driver, Scott Wilson. Mr. Goodman was subsequently arrested and charged with DUI Manslaughter, Vehicular Homicide, and Failure to Render Aid.
Since the accident, Mr. Goodman has been the target of an unrelenting media blitzkrieg led by the editorial staff of the Palm Beach Post, aided by the civil litigation attorney representing Mr. Wilson’s family and Palm Beach County police and prosecutors.
CIRCUIT COURT PROCEEDINGS
There were numerous prejudicial errors during the course of Mr. Goodman’s trial which led to his unfair conviction. Among those errors were (1) the funding of an attorney for government witness Lisa Pembleton by the attorneys representing the Wilson family; (2) the prosecutors’ conduct in releasing Ms. Pembleton from a trial subpoena knowing that they were going to ask this Court the next morning to reconsider its initial ruling barring the introduction ofher taped statement; (3) the hiring of the State’s rebuttal expert, Thomas Livernois; (4) the role of the “Volkswagen Group” (including the Bentley Corporation) in staging the secretive tests Mr. Livernois conducted on the “exemplar” Bentley; and (5) the suppression of evidence that would have impeached Mr. Livernois’ testimony about the purported infallibility of the “fail-safe” software used in cars manufactured by the Volkswagen Group. At the conclusion of the trial, a motion for new trial was filed.
An alternate juror reported several strains of jury misconduct, and a motion for new trial was filed, including allegations that:
(1) The jurors repeatedly disobeyed their oaths and instructions from the Court to not discuss the evidence until the end of the case;
(2) The jurors made derogatory comments throughout the trial about Mr. Goodman’s wealth which showed that they were not being impartial;
(3) The jurors disobeyed the Court’s instructions not to read or view the media reports about the case;
(4) Two jurors, Nos. 5 and 6, made false statements to the Court in order to cover up the fact that Juror No. 6, Dennis DeMartin, had made a prejudicial gesture during counsels’ cross-examination of the State’s rebuttal expert and then conversed with Juror No. 5 about it; and
(5) Mr. DeMartin improperly began writing a book about the case during the trial, told the other jurors that he was doing so and then misrepresented what he was going to the Court in an attempt to conceal his misconduct.
After learning about possible undisclosed communications between a juror and the court, a motion to compel disclosure of any such communications was filed and denied.
After discovering several instances communications to the court regarding jurors which were undisclosed to counsel, a motion to disqualify the court was filed and denied.
Revelations by a juror in his published book prompted the filing of a supplement to his motion for new trial.
After the Fourth District Court of Appeal relinquished jurisdiction in the case, sending the appellate case back to the trial court for fact-finding and ruling on alleged juror misconduct, the Defendant filed his Motion for New Trial and/or to Vacate his Conviction.
Further investigation revealed even more egregious behavior by DeMartin in willfully withholding information that would have surely excluded his jury service in this case. This supplement was filed following this discovery.
SIDE NOTE: DeMartin was subsequently charged, tried, and found guilty of two contempt of court charges, and sentenced to a 6-month jail sentence. He appealed the conviction, but it was affirmed.
FOURTH DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL PROCEEDINGS
- Defendant’s Petition for a Writ of Prohibition and a Writ of Mandamus filed April 30, 2012
- Appendix to Petition
- Initial Brief of Appellant filed September 4, 2012
- Appellant’s Motion to Reconsider Order Denying Motion to Stay and to Relinquish Jurisdiction Based on Newly Discovered Juror Misconduct filed March 25, 2013
- Order Relinquishing Jurisdiction to Trial Court Based on Newly Discovered Juror Misconduct filed April 1, 2013