Criminal Justice

Polo mogul found guilty in DUI manslaughter retrial; judge orders him to jail

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For the second time, a Florida jury has found a wealthy polo club founder guilty of manslaughter while driving under the influence.

Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath quipped “what a long, strange trip it’s been,” to the attorneys as the jurors began their deliberations in the Palm Beach County case against John Goodman, the Sun Sentinel and Daily Beast reported. Goodman could get as much as 16 years. Colbath also had the 51-year-old Goodman taken into custody. Goodman had been under house arrest, where under terms of his $7 million bail, he was paying $2,000 a day for two sheriff’s deputies to guard him, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The first guilty verdict against Goodman was reversed over juror misconduct, and a juror in the second trial was excused after he reportedly used his laptop computer, in violation of court rules, while the jury was sequestered.

The defense team plans to appeal and seek Goodman’s release on bond while the appeal is pending, said Elizabeth Parker, who is one of Goodman’s attorneys, after the verdict.

“We’ll be appealing this verdict based on the substantial issues that we believe are present in this case,” she said: “The release of the vehicle and the admissibility of the blood results.”

The defense argued that Goodman had trouble stopping the $200,000 Bentley convertible he was driving because of a mechanical issue, the newspaper reports. Goodman’s lawyers also contended their investigation on Goodman’s behalf was hampered because the government’s “premature” release of the car from evidence.

Prosecutors blamed drinking and driving for the 2010 accident, in which they say Goodman went through a stop sign and struck a Hyundai Sonata driven by Scott Patrick Wilson, 23. The recent engineering graduate’s car flipped upside-down into a nearby canal, where he drowned.

Prosecutors said Goodman’s blood-alcohol level after the accident was more than twice the legal limit, and they point out he waited an hour to call 911 for help after leaving the scene.

The defense said Goodman drank after the accident to ease the pain of a broken wrist. Disoriented from a concussion, Goodman walked away from the crash to find a phone from which he could call 911, the defense said.

Related coverage: “Polo Mogul Who Adopted Adult Gal Pal Paid $46M to End Crash Case, Says ‘Wealth Bias’ Put Him in Jail” “Juror gets 6 months in contempt case over mistrial, was no ‘benign Mr. Magoo,’ judge says” “Sequestered juror’s Internet surfing at issue in Palm Beach polo mogul’s DUI manslaughter retrial”

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