Appellate Practice

Juror, 70, who is serving 6-month contempt sentence must stay in the slammer during appeal

By the time Dennis DeMartin’s appeal of his six-month contempt term is heard, the 70-year-old Florida man will have served it, his lawyer points out.

But, so far, there’s been little court sympathy for the argument that DeMartin should be freed while he appeals the five-month, 29-day jail sentence he got for causing a mistrial while serving as a juror in a high-profile fatal drunken-driving case, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

The latest setback was a Friday ruling by Palm Beach County Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath that DeMartin will stay in the slammer as the appeal proceeds. He has already been there a month.

Now it will likely be up to the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, which ordered the Friday emergency hearing before Colbath, to decide whether to free DeMartin.

He was found to have interfered with the trial process for polo mogul John Goodman by conducting a vodka-drinking experiment at a time when deliberations were underway and by failing to reveal a relative’s drunken-driving case during questioning of prospective jurors at the outset of the case.

See also: “Juror gets 6 months in contempt case over mistrial, was no ‘benign Mr. Magoo,’ judge says”

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