Trials & Litigation
Juror gets 6 months in contempt case over mistrial, was no ‘benign Mr. Magoo,’ judge says
Posted Jan 28, 2014 11:55 AM CDT
By Martha Neil
A juror blamed by a Florida judge for a mistrial in a high-profile criminal case hasn't gotten off easy.
Dennis DeMartin, 70, was sentenced Monday to five months and 29 days in jail for criminal contempt concerning the manslaughter case of a polo mogul accused of causing a fatal accident while driving under the influence, reports WFLX.
DeMartin's lawyer, Joseph Walsh, argued to no avail for probation or community service in the in the Palm Beach Circuit Court case, contending that his client has health issues that cannot properly be dealt with in jail. Walsh likewise sought without success his client's release pending an appeal.
DeMartin is expected to serve 120 days behind bars, then complete his sentence with home confinement, according to the Palm Beach Post.
“If I found Mr. DeMartin a benign Mr. Magoo who was unaware of the destruction he left in his wake, then I would find differently," said Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath "I don’t think that’s the case."
DeMartin got into hot water with the judge because he conducted a vodka-drinking experiment at the time of jury deliberations, which came to the court's attention after he self-published a book about the trial of John Goodman.
"It was bothering me that if there was proof that if Mr. Goodman only had 3 or 4 drinks, how drunk would he be? How drunk would I be?" wrote DeMartin. "I decided to see."
Additionally, DeMartin failed to disclose to the court a DUI case against his ex-wife.
An earlier Sun-Sentinel article provides additional details about the case.
ABAJournal.com: "Juror Says He Drank Before DUI Death Case Verdict to Examine Mindset of Accused; Defense Cries Foul"