You could argue that Florida prosecutors’ run of bad luck began when John Goodman had his previous conviction overturned.
The Texas-born billionaire was supposed to be serving a 16-year sentence following a successful DUI manslaughter conviction.
But that sentence was thrown out after Goodman’s legal representatives were able to prove successfully that a serious error was made.
Serious enough to require a retrial.
Only, it isn’t exactly a retrial.
The ten jurors selected for this case aren’t supposed to know that the 51-year-old has been through this process before.
They aren’t supposed to know about victim Scott Wilson, or the fact that John Goodman’s Bentley hit the recent college graduate’s car with so much force, it tumbled into a nearby canal.
The men and women selected to hear this case aren’t expected to know that the 23-year-old died due to drowning in said canal. Nor that the man who put him there was said to have driven while intoxicated.
— The Palm Beach Post (@pbpost) May 21, 2014
According to authorities, Goodman’s blood alcohol content was .177, nearly twice the legal limit to drive.
During efforts to whittle away at the potential pool of jurors, an individual named Travis Van Vliet decided the best course of action was to look online to find out information about the suspect.
Naturally Van Vliet learned that the case was a retrial. Unfortunately, he then moved to share this information with another would-be juror.
Both individuals were dismissed, and he was led away in handcuffs.
The bad luck didn’t stop there.
The first person on the stand was a key witness: Catherine Lewter, the bartender who served John Goodman the night of the crash.
Though Lewter had been previously cooperative, she seemed to have reversed her story somewhat in the window of time since she last testified.
Before she had no problem admitting to Goodman’s alleged level of intoxication and how many drinks he ordered.
But when asked again on the stand this week, Lewter insisted that her previous assertions had been exaggerated.
— Terri Parker (@wpbf_terri) October 16, 2014
She also said that she didn’t think that Goodman appeared all that intoxicated when he left the Player’s Club bar where she worked.
Lewter instead said that she was fearful and gave the lawyers what they wanted to hear because she felt “intimidated”.
Although Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson countered Lewter’s claims with a video clip, her move to backpedal was worrying.
The pièce de résistance in the mess that prosecutors find themselves dealing with is of course John Goodman’s Bentley.
— WPTV (@WPTV) November 19, 2013
Somehow this absolutely essential piece of evidence was released “prematurely” by authorities.
John Goodman’s appeal hadn’t been filed at the time the car was let go. Of course this meant that the new jury could NOT have access to the wrecked vehicle.
The prosecution has had to be creative, relying on a computer-generated recreation of the crash.
With the trial only beginning and so many issues plaguing the Florida case, some are wondering if it’s a sign that John Goodman may avoid a second conviction.
Do you think various issues will allow John Goodman to evade jail time this time around?