Houston-raised billionaire John Goodman’s name was splashed across the headlines when he was charged with drunk driving in 2010. The accident that led to the charges caused the death of a 23-year-old engineering student.
Goodman was convicted of DWI manslaughter and is now serving a 16 year sentence on house arrest. But was his trial fair? Like everyone accused of a crime, Goodman is entitled to a day in court and due process of law. Now, however, new information has come to light that has his lawyers calling for a retrial.
Juror failed to reveal wife’s DWI
Jury selection is an important part of the judicial process. During jury selection, each side has the opportunity to vet potential jurors and eliminate individuals from the jury pool in order to guard against biases and preserve the integrity of the trial.
Long after Goodman’s trial had been completed, Dennis DeMartin, one of the jurors, began self-publishing books. In the first book, the juror told of how he conducted his own drinking experiments to see how intoxicated Goodman was the night of the accident – despite the judge’s warning to the jurors that they should not conduct their own research and should base their decision only on the evidence presented. When confronted by the Palm Beach Post, DeMartin claimed he did not remember the judge issuing this warning, saying “What can I say? I’m getting senile.”
In his latest book, DeMartin revealed that his wife had once faced a DWI charge. When asked directly about this during jury selection, DeMartin did not mention it. Goodman’s legal team claims they would not have selected DeMartin for the jury had they known about his wife’s DWI charge.
In early April, an appellate court ordered that the trial judge re-interview Dennis DeMartin. The trial judge and attorneys for each side are scheduled to interview DeMartin on April 29 to determine whether a new trial is warranted.
Talk to an experienced DWI attorney to protect your rights
If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense, you may be able to draw parallels between Goodman’s case and your own. Whether you’re a billionaire or an average American, everyone has the same rights of due process, a fair trial and an impartial jury.
Was evidence collected in violation of your rights? Has your case been prejudiced by impartial treatment? Has any type of legal error been made by the court? The answers to these questions and more can make all the difference in your case.
Talk to an experienced DWI attorney today. By doing so, you can help protect your rights and ensure you are treated fairly when your day in court comes.