The retrial of polo mogul John Goodman is demonstrating that in the 21st century, there’s no such thing as an entirely ignorant jury.
Aside from being able to quickly find out about 51-year-old Goodman via Google, one can just as easily learn crucial details about the previous trial.
This is what happened with Travis Van Vliet. The 23-year-old thought nothing of looking up the case during lunch and learning the details of the retrial.
While this alone would probably make him an undesirable juror, Vliet then did something unthinkable: He began to share what he found out with another potential juror!
The overriding point of jury selection for the Goodman trial was to select unbiased individuals who didn't know about the previous trial OR his conviction.
— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) October 9, 2014
Judge Jeffrey Colbath found the young man to be in contempt of court and had him escorted from the courtroom in handcuffs.
It’s not a good sign for prosecutors.
It was juror misconduct which led to a retrial for the multimillionaire.
It’s also why this case will see the selected jurors sequestered in West Palm Beach, Fla. for four weeks.
Still, Vliet's actions raise serious questions about how uninformed a jury can be about John Goodman and the previous trial.
Despite lingering concerns, 10 individuals were selected (six jurors and four alternates) for the trial.
If it somehow emerges that some of the jurors were indeed aware of the previous trial and Goodman’s conviction, it may yet again cause problems for Florida prosecutors.
— WPTV (@WPTV) October 7, 2014
John Goodman is originally from Texas and the heir to an air conditioning business empire. He used his money to rebuild the Wellington, Fla. polo community, a fact for which he’s gained worldwide recognition.
In 2010, Goodman was driving while intoxicated when he struck the car of 23-year-old engineering graduate Scott Wilson. Wilson’s car flipped upside down into a canal, which caused him to drown.
Prosecutors claimed that Goodman fled the scene of the accident and didn’t call 911 until nearly an hour later.
He was originally convicted on the DUI manslaughter charge in 2012, but his lawyers found errors that resulted in his old conviction and 16 year sentence being thrown out.
The John Goodman retrial will be streamed live on Saturday by WPTV.